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Inquest hears of mother's overdose
A MOTHER who was given three times her normal prescription of anti-depressants to see her over the Christmas period died of an overdose, an inquest heard.
Annette Muirhead, 44, collapsed at the bottom of the stairs of her Darlington home and was found by her young son, two days before Christmas Day last year.
She was rushed to Darlington Memorial Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Durham Deputy Coroner, Crispin Oliver, who recorded a verdict that Ms Muirhead had killed herself, said he planned to raise the issue of over-prescribing.
“This death does raise with me concerns,” he said. “I will write a letter to the authorities with regards to those concerns.”
Ms Muirhead, who had suffered from depression since losing her first baby, took a large number of anti-depressants, which were delivered to her house every week, the Crook inquest was told.
However, to see her through the Christmas period, her pharmacist – who was unaware of her risk of overdose – sent three weeks’ worth instead.
Detective Sergeant Jim Cunningham said her weekly tablet box was empty, apart from a few pills.
Kate Brundle, of Darlington’s West Park Hospital adult mental health team, said Ms Muirhead was well-known to staff and the risk of self-poisoning was high.
“Unfortunately, the community pharmacist explained he was unaware there was a risk of overdose,”
Despite being discharged from regular mental health check-ups earlier last year, she still received prescriptions for high dosages of anti-depressants.
Elizabeth Muirhead told the inquest that her daughter, who lived in Firthmoor, felt abandoned by doctors.
She said: “She felt the book had been closed on her and would say, ‘He doesn’t want to help me anymore’.”
“She used to be a fun loving girl until she lost her baby. I saw her the day before she died and she was full of life, we were dancing and singing and she couldn’t wait for Christmas.
“Please do not let another mother go through what I have gone through and leave another little boy without a mum.”
A toxicology report found Ms Muirhead had died from a potent overdose of anti-depressants.