A young woman who died after taking an overdose of online diet pills did not receive appropriate care because the A&E department was too overcrowded, an inquest heard.
Bethany Shipsey, 21, suffered from severe mental health issues after being emotionally abused, sexually assaulted and raped by her ex-boyfriend Barry Finch.
Finch, 23, was convicted of rape and jailed for six years in August 2015.
Ms Shipsey – on home leave from a psychiatric ward at the time of her death – was rushed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital on February 15 last year after collapsing at home.
On the day of the incident, Ms Shipsey had messaged a friend with ‘tear emojis’ saying: ‘I have just overdosed on DNP. I’m petrified of telling anyone because it is like my 15th overdose.’
But the 21-year-old from Worcester was ‘not considered a suicide risk’ by mental health doctors despite previously taking 14 overdoses, an inquest into her death was told today.
An emergency junior doctor at Worcestershire Royal Hospital said he could not transfer her to the resuscitation room because the department was full.
Under questioning from Michael Walsh, representing Ms Shipsey’s parents, Doug, 52, and Carole, 57, the doctor said he should have consulted the Poisons department in order to fully understand a drug he had ‘never seen before’.
At Worcestershire Coroner’s Court on Monday, Dr Alireza Niroumand, who was an emergency junior medical doctor at the Worcestershire A&E department at the time, said: ‘Ms Shipsey was waiting at the end of the corridor because it (the department) was full of (patients in) beds waiting to be seen.
‘It was one of the busiest days I have seen at Worcestershire A&E of the few days that I had been working there.
On the day of the incident, Ms Shipsey had messaged a friend with ‘tear emojis’ saying: ‘I have just overdosed on DNP. I’m petrified of telling anyone because it is like my 15th overdose’
(Left to right) Tom, Doug and Carole Shipsey at Stourport-upon-Severn coroners court for the inquest into the death of their daughter, Bethany
Under questioning from Michael Walsh, representing Ms Shipsey’s parents, Doug, 52, and Carole, 57, the doctor said he should have consulted the Poisons department in order to fully understand a drug he had ‘never seen before’
‘I’m not a co-ordinator but we had probably been trying too hard.’
Dr Niroumand also said he did not use the database called ‘Toxbase’ to learn about the drug because the files he needed had been given to him by a nurse.
During Dr Niroumand’s evidence, coroner Geraint Williams asked him: ‘When you do not know the drug, surely it is even more important to get specialist advice?’
Finch (pictured), 23, was convicted of rape and jailed for six years in August 2015
Dr Nirvana Chandrappa, a senior consultant psychiatrist from Worcestershire Health and Care, also gave evidence at the hearing.
He said: ‘I became aware that there was a suicide pact between her and her ex-partner.
‘I came to the view she had an emotionally unstable personality disorder.’
After meeting her again in January 2017, Dr Chandrappa said 24 red and yellow diet pills were found in her jacket.
Dr Chandrappa continued: ‘I had spoken to her about the dangers of using the diet pills.
‘Ms Shipsey had informed us they were the pills she bought earlier, had stopped using them and had no intention of using them further.
‘In the same week we became aware that she was getting threatening messages.’
Dr Chandrappa added: ‘On February 15 she used her home leave with her family and unfortunately the incident happened and my deepest condolences (go) to the family for what happened.’
DNP, THE ILLEGAL FAT BURNING DRUG THAT CAN BE DEADLY
DNP is sold as a weight loss aid, but has been described as ‘extremely dangerous to human health’ by doctors.
It is sold mostly over the internet under a number of different names but contains 2, 4-Dinitrophenol.
It is marketed mainly to bodybuilders as a weight loss aid as it is thought to dramatically boost metabolism.
The manufactured drug is yellow and odourless and was previously used as a herbicide and fungicide. It was launched as a slimming aid in the U.S. in the 1930s but then banned in 1938, due to the severe side-effects.
Depending on the amount consumed, signs of acute poisoning could include nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid respiration and irregular heart-beat, possibly leading to coma and death.