Cancer patient committed suicide with overdose

Norwich Coroner's Court. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Coroner's Court. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A pensioner who contracted pancreatic cancer told paramedics to leave after attempting suicide with a morphine overdose, but survived for another five days.

Roger Pollard was 70-years-old in July 2015 when doctors discovered he had secondary cancer of the liver, which had spread from primary pancreatic cancer.

His wife of 45 years described the retired biochemist, of Aylsham, 'very active', but had been a smoker for most of his life, quitting six years previously.

By the time of his diagnosis he 'had grown frail' according to Mrs Pollard, and on September 17, took the morphine overdose.

As his wife searched for his medication, she found a note which read, 'sorry to do it this way, but it was only going to get worse'.

Mr Pollard was still conscious when his wife found him in the bedroom, taking shallow breaths.

Paramedics attended and despite reading the note said they had a duty to save Mr Pollard's life, giving him an injection.

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'He woke up and said something to the effect of 'I am sorry, but I know this is for the best,' added Mrs Pollard. 'He was asked if he wanted to be rescuscitated and he refused. He was adamant he wanted to be left alone and not treated. I made Roger comfortable in bed and the paramedics left.'

Norfolk Coroners Court also heard Mr Pollard had a do not rescusitate note from his doctor.

The doctor visiting Mr Pollard following the overdose said he would not last the night, but he continued on for five more days before passing away on September 22.

Mrs Pollard added her husband had been 'a strong man' which could be why he continued for so long.

Senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake said: 'Mr Pollard had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was being managed palliatively at home. 'He was discovered on September 17 by his wife unresponsive at his home address. Paramedics were called and he was briefly brought back from consciousness, but fell back into unconsciousness, continued to deteriorate and died at his home address on September 22. He had taken a morphine overdose.'

A verdict of suicide was recorded, with a cause of death pancreatic cancer and morphine toxicity.

The Samaritans are available 24/7 by dialling 116 123.