A man diagnosed with schizophrenia need never have died when being restrained by police if certain actions had been taken, a jury decided.
Andrew Jordan, 28, died when his heart and breathing stopped because he had been kept restrained on his stomach, which prevented him from getting enough oxygen into his body.
This was the unanimous finding of a jury at an inquest this week into his death. The inquest, held in Erith, Kent, was reported in detail by thisislondon.co.uk
Police restrained Mr Jordan at his home in Erith, on October 7, 2003, during attempts by them and a mental health team from Oxleas Primary Care Trust to get Mr Jordan to the Woodville Unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, for a mental health assessment, reported thisislondon.co.uk
After handcuffing him because he had bitten one police officer, the officers kept him forcibly restrained, kneeling on the floor with his chest on the sofa, for about 10 minutes.
The jury of 11 decided: “Had Mr Jordan been brought into an upright kneeling position at this time, it is probable he would still be alive.”
When police tried to stand him up, Mr Jordan had gone limp.
He was carried out of the house and put, stomach down, on a canvas stretcher and carried to an ambulance where he was put on a trolley bed, again stomach down, with his hands cuffed behind his back.
The jury decided police had warned the ambulance crew about the dangers of positional asphyxiation, which occurs when a heavy person with a “beer belly” is kept stomach down for a period of time, and which can restrict their breathing.
It decided Mr Jordan had died during the ambulance’s second stop on the flyover over the A2 in Bourne Road, Bexley, at 1.43pm.
Thisislondon.co.uk also reported that the jury decided contributory factors in Mr Jordan’s death were also the lack of communication about his mental condition between the services involved. Attendant medical staff had not been trained about the dangers of positional asphyxiation and “Mr Jordan died in part because asphyxia caused by prolonged restraint was not subsequently treated”.