Coroner critical of Goodmayes Hospital at inquest into young woman’s suicide

The family of an aspiring actress who took her own life an hour after psychiatrists released her from a mental health hospital have called for better assessments for vulnerable patients.

Karis Braithwaite, 24, had been “a whisker” from death when she was pulled off tracks after stepping in front of a train at Dagenham Heathway Station on September 23 last year.

She was taken to Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford by a paramedic who told doctors Ms Braithwaite had made repeated suicide attempts, an inquest at Waltham Forest coroner’s court heard this week.

However, 16 hours later and after 27 minutes of discussion, she was deemed well enough to go home and was called a taxi by hospital staff. She never got in and instead went to Chadwell Heath Station where she took her own life.

The inquest heard Ms Braithwaite had a long history of depression.

British Transport Police had a suicide prevention plan for her but this was not shared with or requested by doctors at Goodmayes.

Ms Braithwaite’s family said: “We are calling on the hospital to demonstrate that they will change both how they obtain and consider all vital information needed to support and assess vulnerable patients.”

Ms Braithwaite was discharged from the hospital at 2.30pm and was struck by a train at 3.28pm on September 24.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Sohom Das, called as an expert witness, said he would not have discharged her as “she was a whisker away from losing her life on September 23”.

Senior coroner Nadia Persaud said doctors did not analyse Ms Braithwaite’s risk to herself or others adequately.

Ruling the death as a suicide, she said: “I accept the evidence that she should have been admitted to hospital.”

She will file a prevention of future death report to the North East London Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services at Goodmayes.

A trust spokesman said: “NELFT would like to express our deepest sympathies, our thoughts are with Ms Braithwaite’s family and friends at this sad time.”

He said the trust would support “any further investigation required”.

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Rachael Burford

Local Democracy Reporter