A woman with a history of mental health problems took her own life two days after she was discharged home from an emergency department, an inquest has heard.
The 43-year-old woman was recovered alive but critically injured by Coast Guard volunteers more than 24 hours after she went missing. She died shortly after transfer to hospital.
The woman, described as musical and driven, worked at the Department of Justice and bought her own home before she became unwell. She left her job and subsequently lost her home in 2014.
Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the woman had made several attempts on her life.
An inquest into her death heard how the woman died on February 24, 2017, having left her home at 4pm the previous day.
On February 22, the woman had presented to the emergency department at Beaumont Hospital.
“She said Mam I have to go to hospital, I need help now,” the woman’s mother told the court.
She was assessed by the Psychiatry Senior House Officer on call along with a psychiatric liaison nurse.
During the assessment, she said she had stopped taking her medicine in 2016 due to excessive weight gain. Her mother said the woman had gained four stone in four months.
She denied suicidal ideation and was described by the psychiatric nurse as ‘minimally anxious.’
She was placed on the anti-psychotic medication and mood stabiliser Olanzapine and discharged home to the care of her mother in a taxi.
The following day she was assessed at home by two community nurses and at 4pm she told her mother she was going for a walk. She never returned.
A post-mortem report gave the cause of death as intracranial haemorrhage due to trauma.
“I miss her so much. She was so depressed and so sad. When I think about her I realise how hard it was for her to get out of bed in the morning,” the woman’s mother said.
Community Psychiatrist Dr Malcolm Garland said the mental health services the woman interacted with were unable to diagnose her as suicidal, based on what she told them.
“During these three to four days that she was embroiled in the system, she was actually quite suicidal, we were unable to get into that part of her mind...We have to go with what the patient tells us,” Dr Garland said.
Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of suicide and extended her sympathies to the family.