Worthing teen who died at mental health clinic remembered as ‘kind and caring’

Meadowfield Hospital, Worthing, aerial shot
Meadowfield Hospital, Worthing, aerial shot

An 18-year-old from Worthing who died at a mental health clinic has been described as ‘loving person’ and a ‘wonderful sister’.

Morghana Woodburn died on Tuesday, January 9, at Meadowfield Hospital in Arundel Road, Worthing.

A jury inquest into her death was opened at Crawley Coroners’ Court today (Monday, November 5).

Morghana, who was born in Worthing, had been in the care system for several years. She had been living at a service in Worthing when she was admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt in May 2017, the court heard.

She remained an inpatient in various mental health hospitals until her death.

Her older sister, Amberley Woodburn, described her as ‘a really loving person’. She said: “Morghana was a wonderful sister.

“Morghana can have good days, she can be full of life and she would help anybody else but herself. On her bad days she can just have a massive breakdown.

“I know that she was trying to get better in the hospital but she was finding it really hard knowing she couldn’t be close to her family.”

Between May, 2017, and her death, Morghana was moved seven times between four different hospitals. This included being transferred to an adult mental health unit when she turned 18.

Sara Godfrey, Morghana’s personal adviser from the leaving care team at West Sussex County Council, said Morghana was ‘very keen’ to plan for her accommodation when she was well enough to leave hospital and was ‘desperate’ for somewhere to call home.

But Ms Godfrey said planning ahead was ‘extremely difficult’ because the adult mental health team required her to have had a period of stability before plans could be made about where she would go.

Ms Godfrey said Morghana spoke to her while in hospital about feeling low, self-harming and hallucinating. Near Christmas, she was finding it ‘very difficult’ not to be with her family.

Ms Godrey said she believed spending nine months in a hospital setting had had ‘a detrimental effect on her mental health’.

The last time Ms Godfrey spoke to Morghana on December 21, she said: “She told me she was doing OK, she had not tried to self-harm for six days. I viewed that as a positive development.”

Dr Anthony Ahwe, consultant psychiatrist at Meadowfield Hospital, said Morghana came to the Maple ward Meadowfield on December 19.

Morghana, who was diagnosed with PTSD and an emotionally unstable personality disorder, was experiencing distressing pseudo hallucinations and dissociation, he said.

Explaining staff’s approach to her care, he said Morghana was not comfortable with being restricted and he felt that it increased the risk of her harming herself.

She was allowed escorted visits outside of the hospital grounds and he said: “I felt she needed to go out more into the community. There were no incidents when she was out, all the incidents we had were when she was in the ward.”

Luke Myatt, ward manager at Maple ward, said staff tried to keep Morghana on general observations, where she was checked on every hour, rather than intermittent observations - where she would be checked on every 15 minutes.

He said Morghana had told her that having her personal items removed and being under constant watch made her feel frustrated. However staff also carried out regular informal observations on her.

He said that Morghana could be ‘engaging, very kind and very caring’ but that it was clear when she was having a bad day as she tended to isolate herself.

Mr Myatt said that he wanted everyone involved with Morghana’s care to sit down together and make a long-term plan for her. “Because Morghana had been in so many different units, attempting to arrange a professional meeting hadn’t worked,” he said.

Nathan Rye, a community mental health advocate for MIND, who had been working with Morghana for about six weeks before her death, said they often spoke about her future.

“She had real concerns about what her next placement would be,” he said. “She was very worried she wouldn’t be discharged from hospital.”

He said Morghana wanted a clear plan of what steps she needed to take to be discharged.

Mr Rye saw Morghana for a 45-minute session on the day of her death and said she ‘appeared OK’ and ‘quite positive about her future’.

That day, Katherine Page, charge nurse at the ward, said staff responded to an alarm at 4.05pm.

She was called to Morghana’s room where staff were carrying out CPR. The ambulance service attended but Morghana was pronounced dead.

The inquest continues.