Woman with ‘chronic sense of emptiness’ died from brain injury after overdosing, inquest hears
PUBLISHED: 20:11 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:48 07 August 2019
A woman who died of a brain injury due to lack of oxygen after an overdose suffered from “a chronic sense of emptiness”, an inquest heard.
Amy Whitmore died on March 25, 2019, at James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) following several days of treatment in an intensive care unit after being found unresponsive at home having taken an overdose of medication.
Miss Whitmore, 28, from Great Yarmouth, suffered from unspecified bipolar affective disorder and was known to mental health services, an inquest at Norfolk Coroners Court, (NCC) on Tuesday, August 6, heard.
Area coroner Yvonne Blake heard from community mental health nurse Terry Glasspoole who saw Miss Whitmore regularly in the year before her death.
Ms Blake heard Miss Whitmore was "up and down" over this period and was "upset at being discharged by the crisis team, [as] she wanted to be admitted".
"She was distressed about relationship break ups, her weight [and] she had a deep desire to become pregnant and thought she might never do so," she heard.
Ms Blake also heard she "took several overdoses and self harmed several times" before her death.
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Miss Whitmore also received treatment from Dr Larry Ayuba dating back to 2009, and the Northgate Hospital consultant psychiatrist said her condition was "challenging" to manage.
"She has overdosed, sometimes with and sometimes without, prescribed medications," he said.
"What happened really breaks my heart. If there was any person in this system that she trusted it was me. I wish I was not sat here."
He described her mental state as "a chronic sense of emptiness".
But Miss Whitmore's family questioned why she was not admitted as an inpatient and was discharged by the crisis team, despite suffering a decline in her mental health before her death, including multiple overdoses and threats to harm herself.
When Miss Whitmore was discharged by the crisis team she was described as at "an enduring risk of death by misadventure", due to her repeated overdoses, but continued to have treatment from the community team.
But Dr Ayuba said: "Admission for people who have emotionally unstable states is thought to be more harmful - it's a known fact."
The inquest was adjourned awaiting a serious incident report (SIRI) from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). A date has not been fixed.
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