Prison Death Ruled As Natural Causes After Inquest Describes Negligent Healthcare

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A 19-year-old inmate, Jordan Hullock from Leeds, died in prison after being “de-humanised and ignored” according to an inquest, which ruled that his death was due to ‘natural causes’.

Represented by Ison Harrison’s expert criminal and inquest lawyer, Ruth Bundey, Jordan’s family left the inquest distraught and angry at the treatment their son had been subjected to at HMP Doncaster between 1st June and 30th June 2015, with plenty of unanswered questions remaining about how the prison’s healthcare system failed him.

Jordan Hullock was remanded to HMP Doncaster on 1st June for what was his first prison sentence. The inquest heard that Jordan first complained of feeling unwell in his cell on 12th June. He had developed headaches, dizziness and chest pains and was soon unable to get out of bed, eat or drink without assistance. Healthcare at the prison – operated by Serco – was provided by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, and staff did attend to Jordan but he wasn’t referred to a GP.

Healthcare failing at HMP Doncaster

At this time, Jordan was sharing his cell with a cellmate who regularly helped him get a drink and use the toilet. Alas, this cellmate was released on 18th June. From this point, Jordan’s health deteriorated rapidly, but he was alone in his cell, and while other inmates and prison staff alerted healthcare staff to his condition, nothing was done to help him. At one point he had a GP appointment booked but failed to attend, and no alarm was raised as to why.

Jordan soon became unresponsive to any conversation or assistance to help him eat or drink. On 23rd June he was found collapsed in his cell covered in his own faeces after becoming incontinent. In a traumatic scene, Jordan and his cell were left in this condition for a full ten hours before healthcare staff would attend to him and clean the cell.

The very next day, Jordan collapsed again. At this point, on 24th June, Jordan was offered his first food and drink in three days by a nurse who urgently referred him to a GP and then to hospital, where he was induced into a coma before his family were informed of his condition. Jordan died in hospital on 30th June.

The inquest heard that Jordan’s death was through ‘natural causes’ but the medical cause of death was listed as bacterial meningitis, pneumonia and an existing heart condition. At the inquest it was claimed that there had been “shortcomings in the standard of physical healthcare provided” to Jordan between 17th and 23rd June 2015, before he was referred to hospital, and of course these proved critical. The period between 12th and 24th June was also described as witnessing “serious failings” by the prison’s healthcare staff.

Ison Harrison comment on the inquest findings

Representing the Hullock family, Ruth Bundey of Ison Harrison condemned Jordan’s treatment and praised the family after the inquest: “The image of Jordan, left motionless over days in his cell behind a locked door, unable to reach his bell or water tap, and gradually losing the power of speech, is like something out of the dark ages. There can be no excuses for the lack of care afforded to him and the neglect of his needs. His family has sat through horrendous evidence with huge dignity.”

Meanwhile, Jordan’s family demanded further answers, his mother Marie claiming: “Not being informed of our child’s admission to hospital denied us of the chance to say goodbye. We cannot believe the inhuman and degrading treatment he received while in Doncaster prison. Four years on we are still devastated and angry that we have lost our loving son…. Even after this long inquest we do not feel satisfied with the outcome, though we are truly grateful for the jury’s carefully considered conclusions. We feel people need to be punished for their behaviour and actions towards Jordan. Many failings have been admitted by Nottinghamshire NHS Trust and the individual nurses. What we really wanted was admission as to why certain people did not comply with the requirements of their job, including prison management.”

Finally, Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, joined the call for further action to be taken to investigate the failings and prevent similar unnecessary prison deaths: “Jordan was in need of urgent physical healthcare but instead was dehumanised and ignored. The serious failures in care resulted in him being left to deteriorate in his cell, dependent on another prisoner for his basic needs. Like too many deaths in prison, Jordan’s death was far from natural and should have been prevented.”

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