She was left to die: NSW patient's family
NSW mother of two Miriam Merten was left to die "in the most disgraceful and horrific way" in mid-2014 because the mental health unit at Lismore Base Hospital failed her on every level, her family says.
A coronial inquest into the death of the 46-year-old found she died of traumatic and hypoxic brain injury after falling at least 25 times in seven hours while on psychotropic drugs.
A senior nurse was aware of at least one fall but failed to take appropriate action.
"Had Miriam been provided adequate care during her hospitalisation ... she would have lived," the family said in a statement released by their lawyers on Wednesday.
"Miriam was a mother, a sister, a daughter and a cousin. She came from a family who loved her."
The family said they were told by the hospital Miriam had "slipped and fallen in the shower, hitting her head, and this was the cause of her death".
But a coronial inquest found otherwise in September 2016.
The reality of her final days was revealed in CCTV footage aired by News Corp Australia last week.
It showed Ms Merten had numerous falls while being held in a seclusion cell, naked and with no access to water for almost six hours.
She spent more than 30 minutes covered in her own faeces before her eventual collapse in a corridor of the facility.
The horrific video prompted NSW Health to launch an immediate parliamentary inquiry into "all aspects" of the state's mental health system and a separate six-month review by the state's chief psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright.
While the family on Wednesday welcomed the two reviews, they criticised former health minister Jillian Skinner.
"Ms Skinner and her office completely failed to acknowledge and respond to Mr Merten's (Miriam's father's) distraught plea for answers (over three years)," the statement said.
Ms Merten had numerous admissions at the hospital over many years and could be manic and abusive.
Her care in June 2014 had been in the hands of two nurses but Coroner Jeff Linden found the second nurse was "inexperienced" and accepted his colleague's directions.
The senior nurse, shown in the CCTV footage deliberately ignoring Ms Merten, died "unexpectedly" in April 2017.
While the nurses' actions were "unconscionable" the Mertens expressed compassion for those involved.
"The family understand their work is difficult and want to acknowledge that a staff member did attempt to show Miriam the care she needed but was overruled.
"Sometimes good people are made to feel powerless by the system."
Ms Merten's family have serious concerns the incident wasn't an isolated one and hope Miriam's death leads to significant changes to mental health care.
"It is so important we treat the mentally ill with the respect, dignity and care they deserve," the family said.
Comment was being sought from Ms Skinner and/or the government on her behalf.
© AAP 2017