The unremitting winter gloom just got a whole lot darker with the news, recently announced through the media, that a baby’s body has been found in the Avon Gorge. It’s going to be Zaani Tiana Bevan Malbrouck, the five day old daughter of Charlotte Bevan who it appears took her own life last night.
What demons was she suffering to end everything that way? Did she really make a conscious decision to leave hospital on a freezing cold night, wearing little more than hospital clothes and a pair of slippers? It looks like it. I can barely comprehend what’s happened.
One thing is for sure though: we need a full, independent inquiry to establish exactly how this awful tragedy came about. Someone, somewhere would have known if Ms Bevan suffered from any kind of mental illness, so assuming they did what kind of monitoring took place? Did the hospital have sufficient resources, by which we mean staff? The charity ‘Mothers for Mothers’ suggests the hospital was understaffed. I have no evidence other than that, but this surely needs to be investigated, as do the security arrangements, assuming there were any.
And did no one notice this young woman leaving the hospital with a tiny baby wearing her slippers? Didn’t they think it unusual? And how long did it take anyone to notice that she was missing?
I refrain from making party political points because this is just too serious and sad but in general terms we need to know what happened and we need to know what steps are going to be taken to prevent his happening again. We cannot turn our hospitals into prisons so people will always be able to come and go and normally that will not be a problem. Thankfully, most people don’t have demons like Charlotte must have had.
And it’s going to be about mental illness again, still not taken seriously by politicians in a country where provision for treatment has been dramatically cut in recent years. Maybe there was nothing that could have been done to save this poor woman and her baby but we don’t know the full details yet.
But we cannot just hope it doesn’t happen again because if we do nothing, it just may happen again.
I can just imagine the girl walking from the hospital, probably through Redland and Clifton and maybe somewhere else along the way.
Words are not enough now and it is time for those with power in society to get to work so we aren’t mourning more tragedies like this in the future.