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Connor Sparrowhawk death: former NHS clinician admits string of failings

A consultant psychiatrist has admitted a string of failings over the death of a vulnerable teenager who drowned in a bath at an NHS care unit.

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, had an epileptic seizure while in the bath at Slade House, Oxfordshire, in July 2013.

An inquest jury in 2015 found a number of serious failings by Southern Health NHS foundation trust contributed to the death of the teenager, who had learning disabilities.

On Monday, the lead clinician in charge of Connor’s care, Dr Valerie Murphy, admitted 28 failings in a hearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.

Murphy admitted failing to meet Connor’s clinical needs relating to his epilepsy and the bathroom, the tribunal heard, and that she did not follow National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.

The consultant psychiatrist, who no longer practises in England, also admitted failing to develop an adequate care and detailed management plan, particularly concerning his epilepsy.

Murphy admitted failing to obtain a history of Connor’s behaviour before, during, or after seizures, the tribunal heard, and failing to make comprehensive notes about his care.

The tribunal, chaired by Martin Jackson, will consider whether Murphy failed to carry out any risk assessments on Connor when he was admitted to Slade House on 19 March 2013. Murphy denies that allegation.

Read more in The Guardian.

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