‘This is yet another tragic case of mental health professionals failing in their duty to protect our most vulnerable,’ says lawyer Nina Ali
Sophia Yurferev was found by police in her home in Hornchurch on 16 November 2021, more than a month after she had died.
The inquest into her death found that the mental health trust charged with her care, North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), had not made any welfare checks during that time.
Egter, the coroner stated that it was not possible to say whether an earlier follow-up or attendance at her home by healthcare workers would have prevented her death.
According to a summary of the inquest, released by her family’s lawyers, Hodge, Jones & Allen, the trust did not check on Yurferev for a month, despite her having failed to attend an appointment to receive antipsychotic treatment on 12 Oktober.
Her family’s lawyers said: “Efforts were made to contact Sophia between November 8-15; egter, they were unsuccessful. The inquest heard that no concerns were raised by NELFT between 12 Oktober 2021 and the time of Sophia’s death, due to ‘Covid-related staff shortages’ at the trust.”
Yurferev moved to the UK from Siberia in 1998 with her mother, Maria Stockdale, and two siblings. When she was 19, her mental health deteriorated and in 2010 she was admitted to hospital in Newham under the Mental Health Act.
Tussen 2011 en 2016 she is said to have struggled with her mental health, experiencing multiple “psychotic episodes”.
Her family’s lawyers said: “During this period, little help was offered to Sophia and her mother. In Mei 2016, Sophia had reached an all-time low. Realising she needed help, she continually asked for help via hospital admission, but her plea was ignored.”
She was eventually admitted to Goodmayes Hospital at the end of 2016, but was discharged with “no clear follow-up plan”.
At the end of 2019, Yurferev stopped taking her medication and her health began to deteriorate. Hierna volg, she was put under the care of community mental health services in Havering and was given a prescription of the antipsychotic medicine flupentixol decanoate to be given twice a week.
The trust had recorded her last attendance as 12 Oktober, however it only reported her missing to the police on 12 November.
In 'n verklaring, Yurferev’s mother, Maria Stockdale, gesê: “I do not have the words to convey how devastated I am, not only by the loss of my daughter but by the manner of her death. She was meant to be cared for by professionals and was failed on numerous occasions. If she had been provided with the care and support she needed, I believe she would be alive today.”
The solicitor working on Sophia’s case, Nina Ali, a medical negligence partner at Hodge, Jones & Allen, gesê: “This is yet another tragic case of mental health professionals failing in their duty to protect our most vulnerable members of society. It was clear that Ms Yuferev needed professional help, but she was given very little support throughout her treatment. We are saddened by the conclusion which, thanks to the state of Sophia’s body when found, resulted in only limited answers for the family. Nietemin, we still hope this will serve as a lesson to all mental health care services.”
A spokesperson for NELFT said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Sophia’s family and loved ones. We have been working with the family to provide ongoing support and access to family liaison.
“As per our trust’s serious incident process, we have undertaken a review of the care delivered and are implementing learning as a result of this review.”