Duchess of Hamilton: ‘Duke was wrongly sectioned’

Kay Hamilton is campiagning for a change in the law: Pic: Gareth Easton
Kay Hamilton is campiagning for a change in the law: Pic: Gareth Easton
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The Duke of Hamilton’s widow is calling on the Scottish Parliament to change the law so people cannot be held in psychiatric hospitals on the orders of just two people.

It follows the detention of her husband shortly before his death.

Under Scotland’s Mental Health Act, a person can be detained against their will if a doctor and a mental health officer agree that they suffer from a mental disorder.

In 2009, the Duke of Hamilton had been suffering with dementia and was being cared for at home by the duchess and her staff, but a psychiatrist suggested they go to hospital to check the duke’s medication.

Lady Hamilton said she was led to believe this would just be for a few days but after she filled in an admissions form she was told her husband had actually been sectioned for 28 days.

She said: “He was really upset. I could hear him calling for me: ‘Kay’, ‘Kay’.

“I said, ‘It’s alright pet. You’re here voluntarily, you can come home if you want to’.

“Then a voice behind said, ‘No he can’t. He’s been sectioned for 28 days and he may not get out then’.”

When the Duchess returned the next day she noticed the duke’s speech was slurred and he was suddenly having difficulty walking, due to anti-psychotics she believes were unnecessarily prescribed.

A few days later, when she had to leave for the evening, she looked back to see him trying to as she left after a visit, he tried to escape from a first floor window. She said: “He rushed out into my arms saying, ‘Home!’ and they had to pull him away from me.

“I thought, if this can happen to the Duke of Hamilton, what chance has Joe Bloggs?”

Lady Hamilton believes the whole episode hastened the duke’s death in 2010. Campaigners argue forced detentions should have to be approved by a panel of experts.