Doctor found dead in Lidl car park, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 10:36 26 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:36 26 October 2019
Tributes have been paid to a doctor who was found dead in his car in a supermarket car park.
Ryan Pickering, who had worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, was declared dead at Lidl in Austin Street, King's Lynn, on December 16, an inquest heard today.
His ex-wife said in a statement: "He was one of the unluckiest guys," she said. "He had one stumbling block after another but he was strong, he kept on fighting."
South African Dr Pickering, 41, of Monkton Way, King's Lynn, took an overdose on May 31, 2018, but called a friend and later described it as a cry for help.
He spent time in a mental health unit in Bristol, before being discharged and referred to the mental health team in King's Lynn.
Jonathan Buck, senior mental health nurse at the Fermoy Unit, said: "Ryan spent time working with colleagues during his medical career. He had always been regarded as an excellent doctor who went the extra mile for his patients by everyone who met him professionally."
Psychiatrist Dr Tara Collinge said Dr Pickering had been asked to leave work in December 2017 over concerns he had been turning up "over sedated".
In August 2018, he had returned to the hospital in a non-clinical role. On September 24, he was admitted suffering severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
On September 26, he admitted taking his own supply of painkillers onto the ward when he collapsed after an overdose. His conduct was referred to the hospital's medical director.
Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake heard evidence Dr Pickering was happy immediately before his death and looking forward to seeing a daughter he had with another former partner in Surrey on the night of December 14.
When he failed to turn up, the girl's mother called his mobile on a number of occasions and said he told her his car had broken down, he sounded confused and did not know where he was. His body was found in his car on December 16.
A post mortem revealed Dr Pickering had taken a number of medicinal drugs. The pathologist concluded he had died from poly-pharmacy toxicity.
Summing up, the coroner said he had a number of problems with debt, his work, relationships and his physical health and there was evidence of opioid dependency and a history of self medication.
She said there was no evidence he intended to take his own life and concluded his death was drug-related.