‘We begged them’: Family want inquiry into Jamie Wood’s death

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The family of Brisbane dancer Jamie Wood have written to the Queensland Coroner calling for an investigation into the care he received before his tragic suicide.

The 31-year-old was found dead in Bowen Hills on August 28, sparking an outpouring of grief in Brisbane’s LGBTIQ community.

Warning: distressing content

But despite Jamie “truly seemed to be the happiest guy”, his siblings have spoken about his struggles with mental illness over more than a decade.

Nicholas and Samantha Wood created a Change.org petition to Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath, telling her the state’s mental health system failed Jamie.

Jamie suffered from borderline personality disorder (BPD). His family wants a coronial inquiry into the care he received in the months before his death.

Sister Samantha told 9News she believes Jamie “fell through the cracks” because of a lack of understanding and support for people with BPD.

Before his death, he was admitted to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s emergency department on several occasions.

But they say the hospital repeatedly discharged him while he was “clearly at high risk of suicide”.

On July 26, a month before his death, Jamie was admitted to the emergency department after attempting to self-harm, requiring surgery, she said.

“He had sent my mum a suicide note which I passed on to the hospital,” she said.

After being assessed in the emergency department, Jamie was sent home six hours later. He was told to return for the surgery in four days.

Between April and May, the same thing had happened on three other occasions, Samantha recalled.

‘They didn’t know how to help him’

But Samantha said Jamie Wood was never admitted as a mental health patient.

He was usually discharged from the emergency department within hours, she said.

“We begged them to keep him in, but not once was he ever admitted as a mental health patient,” she told 9News.

They claim staff told them keeping someone like Jamie with BPD against their will in hospital would be more damaging for his mental health.

“As a family we knew Jamie best and what he needed,” she said.

“We wanted him to be admitted so a psychiatrist could assess him properly and perhaps get [him] intense therapy sessions.

“But it was almost like Jamie was put in the ‘too hard basket’.

“They didn’t know how to help him and so every single time they would just release him.”

Jamie Wood’s family meet with hospital staff

Jamie’s family has written to the Queensland coroner requesting an investigation into Jamie’s death.

Last week they met with senior RBWH staff after registering an official complaint with the hospital.

Samantha told 9News the hospital are conducting a “root cause analysis” investigation to try to identify any gaps in Jamie’s care.

A spokesperson for Metro North Health service could not provide any detail “due to patient confidentiality requirements.”

“However we are currently working with the family to address their concerns,” they said.

“[We] will cooperate with any formal requirements relating to his death.

“Metro North Health recognises the devastating and lasting impact suicide has on families and the broader community.

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jamie Wood.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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