Doctor lay dead in QE for 2 days after suicide Mystery surrounds medic’s death days after starting at hospital
AJUNIOR doctor killed himself at a Birmingham hospital but his body was not found for two days.
Eduard Zigar, 25, was found hanged in a store cupboard at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital less than a week after starting a placement.
But an inquest heard his body was not discovered for two days and his failure to turn up for a shift was put down to a rota mistake.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard that the Lithuanian medic, who lived in Wolverhampton, had shown no signs of being suicidal or depressed in the days before his death.
Consultant John Whiting said he joined from an agency on August 20 this year as locum cover was needed on a surgical ward for up to four months.
“He was very pleasant, but a little nervous and anxious, which is not unusual in a new junior doctor,” he said. “He was struggling with our computer system and, even after a week, hadn’t picked it up as much as I’d expected.
“But I had no concerns mental well-being.”
Dr Zigar was seen for the last time when he finished his shift on Saturday, August 25.
He was not seen again until a health care assistant found his body at 10pm on Tuesday, August 27. The cause of death was hanging. Ann Keogh, a senior doctor at the QE who carried out the investigation into what happened, told the inquest that Dr Zigar’s movements were tracked using his swipe card records and CCTV footage.
He was shown to have finished work on the surgical ward at 5pm on Saturday and then moved around the hospital until the last sighting of for his him at 7pm that day. There was no other sightings until his body was found at 10pm on Tuesday, Dr Keogh said.
Asked by coroner Louise Hunt why nobody had missed him during the three days, she said a combination of factors were involved.
When he didn’t turn up for his shift on Sunday morning his absence was not followed up.
Dr Keogh said: “Staff weren’t par- ticularly surprised or concerned and thought it was a rota error because this had happened with another member of staff the previous day.
“Or, as a locum, he decided not to turn up, which does occur.”
Another doctor tried ringing him and left a message, but there was no reply.
It was only on the Sunday afternoon, when Dr Zigar’s parents contacted the locum agency saying they had not heard from their son for 48 hours, that the hospital probed further. Dr Keogh said a doctor went into the hospital’s computer system to find out if he had logged on.
But the name “Edward” than “Eduard” was entered, with the wrong speciality, meant there was no record working at the hospital.
After the mistake was realised, police were informed he was missing and a search began for him via a doctors’ WhatApp group.
Dr Keogh said, as a result of Dr Zigar’s death, the QE now offered more support to locums when they first started, including setting up a special app for junior doctors.
But she said no-one who worked with him reported any concerns.
“On the Saturday he was quiet and detached, but people felt that was not unusual in a new doctor,” she said.
Dr Zigar’s parents travelled from Lithuania for the hearing.
His mother, Julia Zigar, told the court her son was a “tolerant, loving person who loved life”.
She said he texted her every day and was due to return home to Lithuania the week after he died.
“He showed no signs of unhappiness and had never spoken of killing himself,” she said. “He was extremely religious and suicide is not acceptable in our religion.”
Mrs Hunt recorded a conclusion of suicide.
After the hearing, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust extends sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Zigar and hopes the conclusion of the inquest will bring at least some sense of closure.
“His untimely death has prompted the Trust to investigate whether any processes or policies could be improved to avoid such a terrible thing happening again.” rather along which of him
> Eduard Zigar, 25, was found hanged in a store cupboard at the QE Hospital