Suicide:Mother who 'killed herself and baby son by lying down in front of a train - CVIEW NEWS

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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Suicide:Mother who 'killed herself and baby son by lying down in front of a train

Donna Oettinger and her baby Zaki died on a train track after the mother was told she couldn't getpsychiatric help, an inquest has heard

Cradling her three-year-old son, Donna Oettinger, 41,  lay down in front of a train after being told by her psychiatrist 'I can't help you', an inquest has heard.
Oettinger  had been denied urgent psychiatric help in the months before she and her son Zaki died on train tracks in south London in March 2013, it was claimed.
Just three months before her death, she took an overdose while visiting a friend in Yorkshire and was 'disappointed' to have survived, the inquest was told.
A care worker treating the accounts assistant from Croydon in south London then told her family she needed 'urgent' home care on her discharge.
Despite being promised this by mental health bosses, Ms Oettinger was then told the home team could not provide psychiatric help, the inquest heard.
An inquest into the two deaths at Croydon Coroner's Court today heard her mother Carol Oettinger describe the family's battle to secure the right therapy for her daughter.
She told the inquest her daughter went alone to visit friend Frances Felt in Yorkshire to 'work on her anxiety' in December 2012 but took an overdose.
A day later she was seen by Paul Willison, a social worker in Rotherham, who recommended that she received 'intensive home therapy'.
After agreeing to receive treatment and telling doctors she recognised the consequences of her behaviour, she was then deemed 'not treatable'.
In a statement given to the inquest Mr Willison said he contacted health workers in Croydon with his concerns and said: '[They] said there was a home treatment team that covered Donna's locality.'
However her mother told the court that on her daughter's return to London, a psychiatric nurse said this was not the case.
Mrs Oettinger told the inquest: 'We said Donna had just come out of intensive care, Paul Willison had faxed his concerns through saying she needed urgent treatment. She said 'we didn't do urgent treatment here.'
In desperation the family turned to her psychiatrist, Dr Hemanth Rao, but Mrs Oettinger added: 'Donna said she was unhappy to have survived her suicide attempt.
'I said to Dr Rao about Mr Willison's report... she was recommended home treatments, there was nothing in actual fact. Dr Rao said he couldn't help us.'
Trainee psychologist Dr Hermanth Rao, said: 'Potentially any patient can benefit from home treatment.
'I don't really know how the home treatment team (HTT) works in Rotherham, there is a suggestion that there is some psychological treatment that they could give.
'However in Tamworth Road in London the HTT is not experienced in providing psychiatric therapy.
'In Rotherham they said the HTT is necessary because of the skills of the team, but the same may not be same in London.
'I also suspect that the HTT threshold in Rotherham might be much lower than in London.' 
Dr Rao said that a faxed note from Rotherham social worker Paul Willison had not been 'uploaded' to computer systems.
In a statement the social worker told the inquest that he had advised Ms Oettinger was given home treatment and checked that it would be available in Croydon.
After seeing Ms Oettinger on return from Yorkshire Dr Rao advised that she was assigned a 'care coordinator' to be provided through the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
However a miscommunication meant that the intended nurse, Elizabeth Oduntan, was not informed, the inquest heard.
Ms Oettinger was seen by the nurse for an assessment on December 17, just days after her failed suicide bid.
She admitted to Coroner that she had not checked the notes faxed by the Rotherham team.
She said: 'It's not something I would usually do, but I can't remember why I didn't contact Rotherham.'
When asked if she agreed she should have she replied 'yes, if I had the time.'
Instead the nurse said it was a 'duty crisis' and her only objective was to make sure her patient was on the right medication.
'The immediate problem presented to me was how is she doing to be safe,' she told the inquest.
The coroner highlighted that without contacting the doctors who treated her for her overdose she wouldn't have been able to give the correct advice, to which the nurse agreed.
Shaheen Rahman, representing Ms Oettinger's family, said the nurse had done 'the very minimum' considering she was assessing someone who had just tried to kill themselves.

Mrs Oettinger had starting suffering depression after going to Zaki's father, Mohammed El Shaer, in Egypt

 The mother and baby were seen lying on the tracks at Riddlesdown Station, before their deaths

 They had walked to the station from their south London home. A police report said: 'There was nothing in her demeanour to suggest they are anything other than mother and son on their way to the station'

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