A man found dead in his cell died from methadone intoxication in his sleep, an inquiry into his death has been told.
Warren Fenty died at Kittybrewster Police Station in June 2014, just hours after being checked in there following treatment for a drug overdose.
Day seven of the fatal accident inquiry into his death has heard that the 20-year-old was found unresponsive in cell 28 at the newly-opened custody suite at 7.04am on June 29, 2014.
He was declared dead by paramedics at 7.25am.
‘A highly unusual situation’
Mr Fenty had been treated for a drug overdose in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s high dependency unit the day before.
After asking to be discharged and passing a psychiatric assessment he was deemed fit to leave and was checked straight into Kittybrester at around 4pm.
Today an independent medical professional, Dr Michael Johnston, provided his analysis of the care Mr Fenty received in both the hospital and at the police station.
He deemed doctors acted the same way “any other in that situation might” and said he regarded Mr Fenty’s death as “a highly unusual situation”.
Dr Johnston confirmed to fiscal depute Muhammad Sadiq that in his 25 years as a doctor he had “not come across anything like this”.
In particular, he highlighted the fact that Mr Fenty had consumed an “undisclosed but very likely a potentially-life-threatening volume of methadone sometime before 2.50am”, but was “chatting fine” with police staff later that same day.
Inmate laughed and joked with officers
“I was really quite struck by this aspect of the information that was made available,” he said.
“I felt that this conversation that took place between Warren Fenty and PSCO Murison was really quite striking in displaying a level of awareness and alertness from the now-deceased at the time.
“As highlighted as per Dr Weston’s visit at 8.55pm it strongly suggests to me that Mr Fenty was not displaying any signs of immediately life-threatening opiate poisoning at the time.”
He said he was given no physical notes regarding the 20-year-old’s medical treatment for an overdose at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Had also said Mr Fenty had taken a “horse-dose” of methadone, estimated at around 200ml, and that had he known the young man had been in the high dependency unit he would have assessed his risk level differently.
However, having explained in detail the decisions made by the medics, Dr Johnston concluded: “The overall decisions that were made, I believe, are decisions that would have been made by many doctors working in similar circumstances.”
Cell surveillance and staffing issues
Earlier this week the inquiry heard how checks on the cells that evening were ‘lackadaisical’ and that various systems at the new facility, such as CCTV, were not fully operational the night of Mr Fenty’s death.
And last week one of the officers on duty that night told the inquiry that the suite was “understaffed” and he had been “running around like a headless chicken” the evening before Mr Fenty died.
The inquiry, being held virtually before Sheriff Morag McLaughlin, continues.
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