A man was found dead by his sister after doctors ‘didn’t believe’ he was drinking three bottles of vodka a day, his mum claims.
Callum Rogers was discovered at his flat in Greenwich, London, on April 14, last year after his mum and sister grew worried, having not heard from him for several days.
However, at an inquest into his death, Callum’s mum Wendy Bruckland, slammed the mental health services who discharged him just months before he died.
She was left furious after she claims they didn’t believe her when she told him he was “ drinking bottles of vodka like he was drinking a bottle of water”.
Callum, 28, had a long history of alcohol abuse and had been in frequent contact with social services, MyLondon reports.
As he grew up he often binge drank and ended up in hospital, but was discharged from the mental health service at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation (SLAM) just a few months before he died.
Speaking at his inquest at Inner South London Coroner’s Court on Thursday, his mum Wendy said: “I tried everything I could, I’d tell doctors that he was drinking bottles of vodka like he was drinking a bottle of water. They’d say ‘there’s no way your son is drinking that, he’d be dead’, no one believed me.
“I sent photos to social services of the amount he’d been drinking and no one believed me when I said what he drank.”
As he struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety, Callum would go several weeks without alcohol before binge drinking.
Despite a referral order for a drug and alcohol service in Southwark, he struggled during lockdown as group meetings changed to telephone calls.
After a successful stint seeking help, Callum was discharged from health services in April 2020 with team leader Anna Bateman writing: “He reported continued abstinence, there was no reason to disbelieve and there were no indicators that Mr Roger’s alcohol abuse was at a higher risk.”
However, he later relapsed and began binge-drinking again, causing his feet to swell to the point he could barely walk.
Callum displayed paranoid thoughts as well, sure people were following him, and he struggled with his housing situation as he was moved out of his mum’s house when she could no longer cope.
He was discharged again on November 23, after failing to attend his appointments and not answering the phone.
His mum said: “He’d have been drinking from September through to November, that’s why he wasn’t answering the phone. He was too depressed, he’d always answer the phone if he was sober.”
But just two days later he was taken to A&E by police officers and said that he ‘needed help’.
It was during this point that Callum began suffering a nasty rash across his legs, arms and feet.
On February 5, 2021, both he and Wendy attended an online consultation with his GP for his swollen feet and the rash and he was diagnosed with psoriasis and given creams.
His mum however said: “The doctors let him down by misdiagnosing him and not seeing him in person, not realising that his body was shutting down and it wasn’t creams he needed.”
A recommendation was made to the community mental health team to speak with him, but in a follow-up doctor’s appointment on February 19, it was confirmed that he was still waiting for them to make contact.
Despite appearing “more cheerful and confident” and saying that he hadn’t had a drink in two weeks, he was admitted to Lewisham hospital five days later due to cocaine and alcohol abuse.
Another referral was made to CGL in Southwark to treat his substance abuse but it was noted that he was no longer residing in the borough, and did not qualify for treatment at the centre.
It was said that a referral would be made to the Westminster Drug Project in Greenwich, however no referral order had been received.
Depressed with his living situation in Greenwich, he came to stay with his mum for several days in March and had appeared in better spirits. “We were eating pizza, kebabs, the lot,” she said.
She added: “We all watched a movie, he was planning on going on holiday and was going to buy us all late Christmas presents because he wasn’t able to in December because they cut off his benefits.”
However, after returning to his flat, his family became concerned after he failed to make contact for several days. On April 14, he was discovered dead in his bed by his sister with the Metropolitan Police stating his death was non-suspicious and down to alcohol abuse.
A spokesperson for CGL said: “Callum Rogers was supported by our Southwark service from July 2019 until April 2020. He was re-referred at a later date in 2021 but had moved outside of our service’s catchment area. We are saddened by the news of his passing and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time.”
Following his death, his friends gathered to raise money for the family and to give him a proper send-off. A statement read: “It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Callum Rogers . Callum was a bright spark in this world and will be deeply missed. He touched the lives of so many and it’s our turn to give back to his family in their time of need.”
A spokesperson from South London and Maudsley NHS Trust said: “We would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Callum Rogers. South London and Maudsley was not designated as an Interested Party in the inquest hearing by His Majesty’s Coroner.”