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12 June 2023

Edwige Nsilu: Inquest opens into death of young woman at mental health unit in Essex

2 mins

Before Area Coroner Sonia Hayes
Essex Coroner’s Court, Seax House, Victoria Road South, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1LX
Opens on 12 June 2023
Conclusion expected 23 June 2023

Edwige Nsilu died aged 20 while detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 as an inpatient at Colne Ward, St Andrew’s Healthcare Essex, a mental health unit that provided care for patients with personality disorders.

Edwige Nsilu was born and raised in London. Her parents were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised her to speak their native language of Lingala as well as English. Her family describe her as loving, warm, nurturing, gorgeous and strong, with a strong affinity for her Congolese background and culture.

Edwige was taken into care at the age of 15. She was first detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 at the age of 16, following which she was detained in various secure mental health units until her tragic death in 2020. Edwige had a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder, and had a history of serious self-harm.

On 8 April 2019, Edwige was transferred to Colne Ward, St Andrew’s Healthcare Essex. On 3 February 2020, a ligature incident occurred on the ward which led to her being admitted to Basildon University Hospital, where she tragically died two days later on 5 February 2020.

The inquest will now explore the following issues:

  1. Edwige Nsilu’s admission to St. Andrew’s Healthcare
  2. Diagnosis, care and treatment of Edwige Nsilu at St. Andrew’s Healthcare
  3. Diagnosis of risk of self-harm, and care plans and risk assessments in place to manage this risk
  4. Level of observations required for Edwige Nsilu
  5. Events that led to the death
  6. Whether there were any individual or system failures, acts or omissions that caused or contributed to the death
  7. Emergency response on 3 February 2020
  8. Medical cause of death

Edwige’s family are represented by Joseph Morgan of Bindmans LLP.

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