Dentist recalls frenzied attack by mental patient

PUBLISHED: 15:34 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 07 September 2010

Charlotte Newton A DENTIST from Muswell Hill has welcomed a report highlighting failures in the mental health care system which led to a paranoid schizophrenic stabbing him repeatedly. Roger Levy, 53, was knifed repeatedly by Ismail Dogan on his way to wo

Charlotte Newton

A DENTIST from Muswell Hill has welcomed a report highlighting failures in the mental health care system which led to a paranoid schizophrenic stabbing him repeatedly.

Roger Levy, 53, was knifed repeatedly by Ismail Dogan on his way to work on December 23, 2004. Dogan killed Ernie Meads, 58, a masonry expert and badly injured five strangers, during a 90-minute rampage around Haringey and Enfield.

An independent review into Dogan's care was published on Monday which was commissioned by NHS London. It examined the actions of the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and the Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust, in relation to Dogan's care between 2000 and 2004. The damning 175-page report reveals a litany of errors which contributed to Dogan's deteriorating mental health.

Mr Levy said: "This report just points to the need for there to be an independent investigation in such incidents, particularly because there were such discrepancies between the internal review by the TPCT and the independent review. An independent review should be a statutory requirement."

Dogan stopped taking his medication in June 2004, which led to a deterioration in his mental health. When he was arrested in December 2004, he told police "a bird told me to kill people. I have heard these voices for two years and they have got worse recently."

Key opportunities to stabilise Dogan's condition were missed by the mental health care team and professionals did not share vital information, the report found.

There was also evidence that the care co-ordinator responsible for Dogan altered her notes after learning of Dogan's violent acts. That woman has since been suspended.

The report states that the authors were unable to "locate" Dogan's psychiatrists in order to make a "detailed critique of medical interventions taken."

It revealed Dogan's parents were afraid of him and that tragically, they sought help from professionals on at least six occasions. It states that the mental health services let them down by not making adequate use of interpreters to ensure they understood the treatment that was being offered to their son.

Mr Levy said: "It's desperately sad that the only way this poor man got the help he needed all along the way, was after committing such a terrible act. I feel incredibly sorry for his family.

"Mental Health Services are very stretched in Enfield and Haringey and we need more resources."

Marjorie Wallace, of the mental health charity Sane, said: "This report highlights a familiar litany of serial blunders, mismanagement and miscommunication.

"Yet again, the warnings and pleas of family members went unheeded, with fatal consequences."

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said: "This report has shown very serious failings in our local mental health services. It has shown both a failure to communicate effectively, to spot deterioration in a patient's health and a failure to act decisively when the patient could have been helped. This culminated in a horrific event with the death of a local resident.

"With the ongoing consultation to close an acute mental health ward at St Ann's Hospital and hand over more responsibility to the community teams- we need assurances that today's community mental health services have improved drastically since 2004."

Trish Morris-Thompson, NHS London Chief Nurse said: "While homicides committed by mental health patients are rare, the effects on the victims' families and friends can be devastating. We owe it them and the general public to ensure that all recommendations are followed through. We will also ensure that the lessons from Mr Dogan's case are shared with mental health services across London."

In a joint statement, the trusts involved said lessons had been learned from the Dogan case and new mental health procedures were in place.

"We are sorry that in the period leading up to these tragic events several years ago there were significant shortcomings in our services. In the years since 2004 we have made significant changes to improve clinical governance and risk assessment, care co-ordination and inter-agency communications."

Turkish-born Dogan, 33, was a cannabis and khat user. He admitted manslaughter due to diminished responsibility and is being held indefinitely in Broadmoor.

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