The inquest into the death of Rowan Thompson begins on Monday 24 October 2022 at North Manchester Coroner’s Court in front of HM Senior Coroner Ms Joanne Kearsley, sitting with a jury. The hearing is scheduled to last 5-7 days.
Rowan died on 3 October 2020 whilst an inpatient at the Gardener Unit, a medium secure adolescent mental health unit in Prestwich run by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH). Rowan, who identified as non-binary, was 18 at the time of their death.
Rowan experienced weight loss during 2020 and, in the days before their death, collapsed without warning which medical professionals put down to a change in medication.
On 2 October 2020, one week after Rowan’s fall, blood tests were requested and processed by Salford Royal Hospital. The results indicated a severely low level of potassium; low enough to require emergency treatment, but the hospital was unable to reach the unit to alert them. Rowan sadly died the next day.
The inquest will consider Rowan’s care and treatment with a focus on the days before their death including:
the communication between GMMH and Northern Care Alliance, who operate Salford Royal Hospital;
the level and accuracy of observations on the day of Rowan’s death; and
the medical cause of Rowan’s death.
The inquest will also hear evidence from witnesses who treated Rowan on the Gardener Unit and staff from Salford Royal Hospital, as well as an expert instructed by the Senior Coroner to provide an opinion on the contribution of severe hypokalaemia (low potassium) to Rowan’s death.
Rowan’s father Marc Thompson said: “I have a number of concerns about Rowan’s treatment and wider care along with communication between Trusts, which I hope the inquest and the Coroner will address. I hope that any failings or concerns identified will be addressed with immediate action being taken and that there will be a constructive change in the management of young people under section so that no other families have to go through this.
“Losing a child is painful and it has been difficult to wait 2 years for an inquest, reliving it every day. I hope the inquest process can finally answer questions about how Rowan came by their death.”
Rowan was the first of three young people to have died in a nine-month period at Prestwich Hospital, prompting wider investigations into how the hospital is operating.