Aleksey Baranovsky (Cont’d)

Aleksey BaranovskyIn regards to Colin West, the doctor responsible for Aleksey’s clinical care, the ombudsman concluded it had serious concerns about Dr West’s clinical management and made a recommendation that Primecare, the company that provides healthcare to Rye Hill should carry out an investigation and consider referring the case to the General Medical Council.

When interviewed by the ombudsman, Dr West spoke of his doubt about the diagnosis of depression within a prison setting, and his view that lots of people are on antidepressant medication inappropriately, adding: “You have to take it on the chin. That’s life.”

Jocelyn Cockburn, the lawyer representing the family, welcomed the verdict. “We hope lessons have been learnt… to ensure the appalling level of care Mr Baranovsky received is not inflicted upon any other prisoner at Rye Hill or any other prison.”

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, which monitors deaths in custody, said: “If this happened in any other setting, this would be treated as gross professional misconduct.”

For the grieving family, questions remain about the role played by prison staff. Aleksey’s sister Tatyana said: “They weren’t doing anything to help him… just watching him die. It is very strange he was allowed to kill himself in this way.”

Juliet Lyon of the Prison Reform Trust said: “Serious questions remain about the competence and accountability of its private providers and the private healthcare they commissioned at the time. In future such exceptional and terrible cases will fall within the ambit of the Corporate Manslaughter Act.”

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Follow-up News:

INQUEST Press Release – inquest verdict (PDF file – off site)
23 September 2009

Coroner condemns Rye Hill jail where prisoner on suicide watch bled to death
23 September 2009

Prisoner died while on suicide watch
1 September 2009

Coroner says mentally ill prisoner’s death was ‘avoidable’
9 February 2009

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