St Albans care home resident died during happiest days of his life

PUBLISHED: 19:01 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:53 06 May 2010

A CARE home resident from St Albans who suffered from a psychotic illness died during the happiest days of his life, an inquest heard. Stuart Ellis, 38, who lived in Villosa Residential Care Home on Hatfield Road, was discovered by a care worker on the mo

A CARE home resident from St Albans who suffered from a psychotic illness died during the happiest days of his life, an inquest heard.

Stuart Ellis, 38, who lived in Villosa Residential Care Home on Hatfield Road, was discovered by a care worker on the morning of Thursday, September 17, last year. Stuart, who had spend the night before cleaning his room with his sister Faye, was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Stuart, who had been under psychiatric care for 18 years and also had learning disabilities, was on medication called clozapine and at Wednesday's inquest (10) his psychiatrist Dr Hazim Obaydi said that the antipsychotic drug had caused his patient problems in the past, including chest infections and pneumonia.

He said: "Stuart had been on clozapine since 1998 and we had to take him off it for a brief period because it was causing incontinence. But he was back on the drug by the time he moved into Villosa nearly two years ago and things were going very well by then."

But he added: "If someone is on the drug clozapine for a long period of time, the risk of sudden death is always there. It is very rare though and it has affected only one in 10,000 people on the drug."

Care manager at Villosa John Fitzpatrick said that Stuart was "very happy" at the home and that "he did not seem unwell at all" when all the residents and staff went out on a day trip to Stanborough Lakes the day before Stuart died.

He added: "Stuart settled into the home very quickly and really like it there. He would spend his time reading books, watching videos or going out on walks. He was well-liked by the staff and had a great sense of humour. I think he was very happy at Villosa and we shall all miss him greatly."

A post-mortem carried out by Dr Aidan O'Reilly revealed no indication of a heart attack or stroke, although Stuart's lungs were a little over-weight and scarred from previous bouts of pneumonia that had failed to clear properly. There was also no indication of an overdose.

Herts coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of death by natural causes due to a cardio respiratory failure. However, Mr Thomas said that the fact that Stuart was on clozapine for an extended period of time might have been a "significant factor" in his death, and it, "should be flagged up to the Department of Health".

He added: "Stuart had a very set pattern of life which he enjoyed and also a very close family support network. What is perhaps most sad about this is the fact that he had many years of happy life ahead of him.


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