Dave Hart death: Parents 'left in dark' over son's anguish
Parents of a teenager who killed himself after he spiralled into depression criticised doctors for not sharing information with them, at an inquest yesterday.
Dave Hart, 17, was diagnosed with depression in March 2010 but hanged himself the following November after ‘dropping off the radar’ of mental health teams.
An inquest at Wells Town Hall heard how Dave visited his doctor five weeks before his death and admitted he had tried to take his own life.
But despite an urgent referral to the Adult Mental Health Service, he was discharged from their care – and hanged himself in the family’s home in Easton, Somerset.
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The musician’s devastated mother, Lynne Hart, 56, told the inquest her son’s life could have been saved.
She said: “Because Dave was unable to tell us exactly how he felt and all we saw was the fun loving side when he was with his friends we never knew how he felt.”
In a statement, friend Imogen Halsey said Dave had messaged her to say he felt “constantly lonely”, let down and abandoned after a close friend went to a party without him.
In November last year, Dave became agitated after being asked to write a thank you note for money he received following his AS Level results. The teenager went to his bedroom – with his father Don finding him dead hours later.
The inquest also heard Dave told doctors he tried to take his own life just five weeks before his death – but his family was never informed.
Mrs Hart added: “We knew he was feeling low but we did not know he was so low that he had shared with the doctor that he had already tried to kill himself. If the doctors included us in that knowledge Dave still may be with us.
“Confidentiality denied us the right to properly care for and protect our child. We were parenting in the dark.”
East Somerset coroner, Tony Williams, said confusions had arisen with doctors because of Dave’s age.
Dave was under 18 and considered a youth in medical terms when he saw two different doctors.
But because he was aged 16 and 17 when he attended the appointments, the doctors could consider him ‘competent’ to deal with his own health. This meant his parents did not have to be informed.
The coroner said: “The inaccurate recording of a mobile phone number stopped contact and Dave’s GP made no attempt to make future contact with him.”
He said he would be writing to the relevant authorities to highlight the case and how contact between patients, mental health services and family could be improved.
He recorded a narrative verdict.