Naked, stumbling mental health patient shocks Australia

The ordeal left Miriam Merten dead of a brain injury (supplied/The Telegraph)
The ordeal left Miriam Merten dead of a brain injury (supplied/The Telegraph)

Australia's Mental Health Minister says her stomach turned as she watched CCTV footage of a drugged and naked patient repeatedly falling over and hitting her head.

The ordeal left Miriam Merten dead of a brain injury, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The mother-of-two was admitted to Lismore Base Hospital in May 2014. Less than a week later, she was put in seclusion without water or toilet facilities. All she had was a mattress.

CCTV footage shot between 11:50pm on May 31 and 5:10am on June 1 showed her wandering the corridors, naked and covered in faeces - presumably after a nurse opened the door to mop up, seemingly oblivious to Ms Merten's predicament.

She fell over at least 25 times, knocking her head and causing brain damage.

"I got to a point where I just closed my eyes because I didn't want to see what was going to come next," Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies told the newspaper, after Ms Merten's daughter Corina secured the release of the footage.

"I am still pretty much shaken by thinking that was happening to a lady. I was pretty disgusted."

Miriam Merten wanders, while a nurse mops (Daily Telegraph/supplied)
Miriam Merten wanders, while a nurse mops (Daily Telegraph/supplied)

The coroner said the images were "horrific", and called Ms Merten's treatment "beyond comprehension".

Two nurses were sacked following the revelations, one of them saying she was told to ignore usual guidelines because of understaffing.

Ms Merten died on June 3.

The Australian opposition Labor Party has demanded an inquiry into the New South Wales mental health service, 7 News reports. Labor spokeswoman Tania Mihailuk said a "full and transparent review" was needed.

"It is sickening and appalling… Premier Gladys Berejiklian must act immediately."

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