An agoraphobic burglar who suffered a fatal stroke in Northumberland jail was left unchecked by healthcare staff

Healthcare staff at a prison in the north east failed to consistently monitor the condition of a burglar who died while behind bars, an independent report has found.

Darren Davidson was put in a recovery position by fellow prisoners when he collapsed on a wing due to a subarachnoid haemorrhage stroke at HMP Northumberland on June 25 last year. Prison wardens (PCO) called for help from health personnel and an ambulance was immediately contacted. Paramedics reached the 46-year-old but, despite resuscitation efforts, he died in the Category C prison.

A report, produced by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, identified how he had several pre-existing health conditions, including epilepsy, high blood pressure, opiate addiction, brain aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel in the brain) and post-traumatic stress. disorder (PTSD).

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ChronicleLive previously reported how agoraphobic and anxious Davidson was sentenced to five years in prison in May 2020 for a series of burglaries that left victims traumatized. It was only a year into his sentence at Acklington Prison in Northumberland when he died.

The report describes how Davidson was previously remanded in custody in February 2017. He was sentenced to three years and 11 months in prison for burglary in May of that year and transferred to HMP Northumberland the following month. Davidson was released to the community on March 21, 2019, but called back to jail in November and charged with the other offenses.

The report states: “After his recall to prison, health care staff did not consistently monitor Mr. Davidson’s long-term medical conditions.”

Darren Davidson was sentenced to five years behind bars

The clinical reviewer concluded that the clinical care Mr. Davidson received in Northumberland was of good quality and generally equivalent to the care he could have expected to receive in the community. However, he identified some areas of concern.

It was found that there was a lapse in the monitoring of his high blood pressure due to the restrictions introduced to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. The clinical reviewer said the management of his brain aneurysm, epilepsy and thrombosis was also “poor”.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman reported how the Head of Health Care told them that prison health services were under resource pressure due to sickness absences related to Covid-19. They said this, coupled with advice from Public Health England to cancel non-priority activities, meant that resources were prioritized for urgent and emergency care.

The report stated: “The clinical reviewer agreed that prioritization of urgent and urgent care was an approach that also worked in the community. However, the clinical reviewer felt that it was not intended to ‘Use medical technology to enable remote assessment and monitoring of Mr. Davidson’s blood pressure.’

They discovered there was no evidence that health care staff examined Davidson’s brain aneurysm after he was recalled to prison in November 2019. They also identified how Davidson was receiving medication for his epilepsy but not for his thrombosis. The report states: “There is no evidence that these conditions have been followed, monitored or reviewed or that a plan of care has been created and implemented for these conditions.”

The report added: ‘The clinical reviewer found that it was not possible to say whether Mr Davidson’s death could have been avoided due to the nature of a subarachnoid haemorrhage.’

A large wire fence outside a prison, with a sign reading HM Prison Northumberland
HMP Northumberland

Recommendations were made by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman after Davidson’s death. In the report, they recommend that the head of health care review the arrangements in place for monitoring long-term conditions. These include:

  • use medical technology that allows for remote assessment and monitoring
  • the care and treatment of prisoners diagnosed with epilepsy and the risks associated with sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and the need for neurological examination and condition monitoring
  • the care and treatment of prisoners with a history of or at risk of thrombosis.

In May last year, ChronicleLive reported that Davidson had only been out of prison for a few months when he struck again, stealing valuables from traumatized victims in Heaton and Jesmond, Newcastle.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how he had mental health issues from a difficult childhood and had suffered trauma. By his own admission, the ‘institutionalized’ defendant had been ‘unable to succeed’ on the outside and thought he was better off in custody.

Davidson, of no fixed address, was jailed after pleading guilty to two burglaries, a bladed article and two counts of receiving stolen property. He also asked that another burglary be considered. He already had to his credit nine convictions for burglaries since 1999 and more than 60 for dishonesty.

Health care at the prison, which is managed by Sodexo Justice Services, is provided by Spectrum Community Health CIC.

A spokesperson for Spectrum Community Health CIC said: “We offer our deepest condolences to the prisoner’s family and those who knew him. The PPO report concluded that the clinical care Mr Davidson received at HMP Northumberland were of good quality and generally equivalent to the care they might have expected to receive in the community.We are working closely with Sodexo and NHS England to ensure that all recommendations, including staff training and improving our processes, are considered and fully implemented.

A spokesperson for HMP Northumberland added: “Our hearts go out to the family of Mr Davidson, who sadly passed away in June 2021. Alongside our healthcare partners, Spectrum, we have co-operated fully with the investigation. of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, accepted the recommendations made and are working together to implement the agreed actions.”

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