WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
January 20 2021
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

Death of a young autistic man reveals shortcomings about care in A&E

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Death of a young autistic man reveals shortcomings about care in A&E

The inquest into the death of a young man with autism has revealed shortcomings for his care in a Greater Manchester hospital to his death. Alcohol dependency was identified as the cause of death of  Matt Copestick on January 8 2019 with.

The 21-year-old had been diagnosed with autism, had a high level of care needs and developed a problem with drinking in his later teens.From the summer of 2018, Copestick urgently needed alcohol detoxification as his dependence had become life threatening. He had been referred in September 2018 to Turning Point—however, he had been unable to gain access to a detoxification programme. On January 4 2019, his carers found him unwell at home and was taken to Fairfield A&E in Bury. Evidence in the inquest heard that he consented to and was looking forward to enter a detoxification programme and was told that he would be able to do so. He was not admitted for a detoxification programme and tragically died suddenly four days later.

Joanne Kearsley, the Senior Coroner for North Manchester stated unequivocally that Matt Copestick should have been admitted for inpatient detoxification when he was taken to Fairfield A&E four days prior to his death. The coroner concluded that this did not happen due to poor communication between staff and a lack of understanding of the referral process.

Helen McHale and Lee Copestick, Matt Copestick’s parents, said: ‘Having sat through all the evidence it remains clear to us that Matthew did not need to die. It is clear that Matt was let down and that better communication, an understanding of how Matts autism impacted on him, and listening to us more, would have resulted in a different outcome.’ ‘Days before his death Matt said “Mum I want my detox before I die”. This had a powerful impact then, but it haunts us now,’ his parents continued.

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