Jonathan Malia

Jonathan Malia24-year-old vulnerable patient dies in the ‘care’ of the state

Compiled from various sources
submitted by: Larry Fedja – March 2014

News updates listed at the foot of this item

The family of 24-year-old Jonathan Malia who died on 17 January 2013 under psychiatric, care have called for “justice” and “answers”. Jonathan, who himself sought help for a bipolar disorder and was transferred to a private secure unit in the course of his treatment. Jonathan was admitted as a voluntary patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak on 4 January 2013 before first being transferred to Meadow Croft Hospital in Winson Green and then to the Cygnet Hospital in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

After reportedly collapsing he was taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage where he tragically died. It is thought he died from a heart attack caused by a blood clot. The hospital in Stevenage where he was being treated said it did all it could.

Initial reports from the coroner suggested that he died from a “massive pulmonary embolism”, but his family said they want to know exact details of his drug treatment and whether any restraining techniques were used in the run-up to his death.

Mr Malia’s aunt Michelle Fullerton said; “We just want to make sure we put an end to this,” she said. “He died needlessly. We want answers to come out and recommendations to be made.”

Campaigners have long criticised the way hospitals investigate themselves following the death of a patient and there is particular concern about the treatment of black and ethnic minority patients suffering mental health episodes.

In 2012, after years of campaigning for an inquest, a jury found police used unsuitable levels of force to restrain Sean Rigg, a schizophrenic man who died in custody in 2008. This in turn triggered a national inquiry into policing and mental health in the United Kingdom.

Shortly after Jonathan’s death The Independent reported;

Jonathan Andel Malia is the latest in a long line of black men to die in custody. While by no means an exclusively black issue, the cases of Kingsley Burrell-Brown, Sean Rigg, Olaseni Lewis, Fitz Hicks, Mikey Powell, Roger Sylvester and now Jonathan Andel have highlighted the problems faced by detained black men – particularly those held in the mental health system.

Black people are subject to detention under the Mental Health Act in far greater numbers than their white counterparts, even though there isn’t a higher prevalence of mental illness. Compulsion and coercion typify the black patient experience.

Unfortunately, Jonathan knew he was ill, but told his girlfriend he didn’t want the rest of the family to know he had been sectioned and was in hospital. Consequently, his mother, Jacqueline, only found out about his condition minutes before he died.

And in a second blow, Jacqueline, who suffers from a bipolar condition like her son, was then also admitted for treatment in hospital – a situation which the family believes had been brought on by the shock of Jonathan’s death.

“There is no doubt that Jonathan would be alive now if we had known more about his condition,” argued a family spokesperson. “That is why we are now campaigning for a ‘Jonathan’s Law’ where mental health patients should have more than one next of kin.

Jonathan’s case mirrors that of Kingsley Burrell, also from Birmingham, who died four days after being detained by West Midlands Police in March 2011. His funeral took place 17 months later.


Follow-up News:

Jonathan Malia’s family vow to continue fight for justice on first year anniversary of his inquest verdict
10 October 2014

Admitted to hospital for depression – 2 weeks later Jonathan was dead
19 February 2013

This lays bare the problems faced by detained black men
19 February 2013

Family seeks answers after psychiatric care death
11 February 2013

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