Man who died while being restrained by hospital security was unlawfully killed

A man who died while being restrained by a security guard after he was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital was unlawfully killed, an inquest jury has concluded. Michael Thorley, 41, was being treated on the south Manchester hospital’s Acute Medical Unit after attending A&E on December 19, 2017, with signs of a possible infection. The ‘family man’ from Denton, Tameside, was treated for pneumonia and started on an alcohol withdrawal regime.

READ MORE: Tributes to ‘fun-loving’ bar manager who died in three vehicle crash An inquest at Manchester Coroner’s Court lasting two weeks heard that after three days in hospital, Mr Thorley began displaying signs of confusion and delirium. In the early hours of December 22 he suffered a seizure, but was not sedated or placed into intensive care, a jury were told.

A single security guard employed by the hospital, which is run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, was placed on the role of Mr Thorley’s bed watch.

Michael Thorley was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital in December 2017

Questions were raised about the extent of the training the security guard, who has not been named, had received in his role. Around two hours later, Mr Thorley was restrained by the security officer on the ward, during which he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. A jury concluded that the force used by the guard was ‘unreasonable, disproportionate and/or excessive’, and there was a failure of nursing staff to monitor Mr Thorley’s condition during the restraint.

They also found that it was not necessary for the security guard to restrain Mr Thorley at the time he did. These factors ‘probably’ caused or contributed to his death, jurors said. The court also heard that there were errors by doctors and nurses in respect of Mr Thorley’s medical condition, which ‘possibly’ caused or contributed to his death.

Such failures led the jury to conclude that Mr Thorley was unlawfully killed. Coroner for Manchester City, Zak Golombeck, recorded a narrative conclusion, stating that Mr Thorley died of a cardiac arrest whilst in restraint on ward A10, Wythenshawe Hospital on 22 December 2017, at 03.26 hours. Mr Thorley’s family described the avid Manchester United fan as a ‘gentle’ and ‘caring’ man, as they paid tribute to a much beloved son, brother and uncle.

In a statement, his family said: “The 22 December 2017 is a day etched in our memories forever. Forever and always, 41 years young. It has been a long four years.

“Life sometimes wasn’t easy for you, as I’m sure can be said for all of us at some point. “Michael was a much beloved son to our parents. Our mother sadly passed away in August 2020.

Michael cared for her after her first diagnosis with breast cancer, which she fought with all her might.

Man who died while being restrained by hospital security was unlawfully killedA jury at Manchester Coroner’s Court concluded Mr Thorley was unlawfully killed

“Mum always said how selfless he was in caring for her. She fought for him and wanted justice. Michael was the best brother and uncle.

The children always had fun in his company. “Michael wore his heart on his sleeve, had a sense of adventure, and was always a lot of fun to be around. Michael would help anyone in need and was a gentle, caring person.

“He worked in many jobs, including in warehouses and cars. He loved the social banter and the camaraderie. He was a people’s person.

“Michael was all about his family, who were very important to him. An avid Manchester United fan who wouldn’t miss a game. “We as a family fought for his voice to be heard.

The fight for the justice you deserve has been driven by our dad. The only comfort we have is that you are now with mum. “We hope more than anything that things will change with restraint being undertaken by security guards on vulnerable patients in care settings.

Comprehensive training should and must be undertaken.”

A spokesperson for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Wythenshawe Hospital, said: “We wish to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Michael Thorley.

“This incident occurred four years ago and in the time since, we have taken considerable steps in response to this incident, and we will be considering the Coroner’s ruling carefully.”

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