Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
21 year old woman died after inadequate care.
A 21-year-old woman who died in an exceptionally busy A&E ward after taking an overdose of diet pills intended to kill herself but received inadequate care, a coroner has found.
Bethany Shipsey died in Worcestershire Royal hospital on 15 February 2017, a day described by hospital staff as ‘overwhelming’. She had swallowed tablets she bought online from Eastern Europe that contained the industrial substance DNP.
Ms Shipsey, an animal welfare activist, was described by her mother, Carole, as a gifted photographer who was “full of life.”
She said her daughter suffered mental health problems when she faced bullying on social media and broke up with her boyfriend. The inquest was told that Shipsey had been raped by a previous partner and was on home leave from a psychiatric ward when she took the pills.
The coroner, Geraint Williams, recorded a verdict of suicide, but also criticised failings at the hospital where he said the care Shipsey received was “significantly substandard.”
However, Williams said it was not possible to conclude that Bethany Shipsey would have survived if the treatment she received had been of a proper standard.
Her mother, Carole Shipley, a nurse, told the inquest that she took her daughter’s pulse and even changed the electrodes on a monitor because A&E staff were too busy.
She and her husband, Doug, also claimed there was a delay before their daughter was put in a resuscitation room and she was moved from there because other patients were considered more seriously ill.
In a statement read after the conclusion of the inquest, Ms Shipsey’s parents expressed their disappointment at the coroner’s findings and blamed the standard of care she received at the hospital.
The statement said: “We do not feel that the coroner’s conclusion reflected the evidence that was heard during the inquest. Bethany’s basic human right to life was breached in the very place you would expect it to be preserved.”
Two weeks before Shipsey died, the NHS regulator told the trust that runs the hospital to urgently overhaul patient safety or face sanctions.
An emergency junior medical doctor who treated Bethany Shipsey, Dr Alireza Niroumand, told the inquest it was one of the busiest days he had experienced.
He said that he was not familiar with the pills his patient had taken and, under questioning, said he should have consulted the poisons department in order to fully understand the drug.
A senior sister at the hospital and A&E department coordinator at the time Bethany Shipsey was admitted, Kirsty South, said: “We were often unable to meet the quality access standards that day. It was one of the most challenging shifts we have worked. It was more than busy.”