Woman took her own life after discharge from emergency department, inquest hears

Woman took her own life after discharge from emergency department, inquest hears

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.

We are human, we don’t as psychiatrists have special abilities to know what might be going on in people’s minds.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of suicide and extended her sympathies to the family.

More on this topic

Trinity student was 'taking selfies in the sunshine' before fatal fall at Cliffs of Moher, inquest hearsTrinity student was 'taking selfies in the sunshine' before fatal fall at Cliffs of Moher, inquest hears

Family suggest baby's death  highlights 'dichotomy of consultant-led care' between public and private patientsFamily suggest baby's death highlights 'dichotomy of consultant-led care' between public and private patients

Inquest hears of communication issues at hospital as 'perfect and beautiful' baby stillbornInquest hears of communication issues at hospital as 'perfect and beautiful' baby stillborn

Jury at woman's inquest recommends new testing system for Luas body catcher mechanismJury at woman's inquest recommends new testing system for Luas body catcher mechanism

More in this Section

Canning HSE award less than legal costsCanning HSE award less than legal costs

Varadkar ‘cosying up’ with potential coalition partnersVaradkar ‘cosying up’ with potential coalition partners

TDs question rural broadband timelineTDs question rural broadband timeline

Sandwich board licence to cost €630 a yearSandwich board licence to cost €630 a year


Lifestyle

Pollinators are busy feasting on a tempting selection of flowering plants, says Peter Dowdall.The hedgerows are alive with the sound of insects

Carol O’Callaghan previews Cork Craft Month, when exhibitions, workshops and retail opportunitiesAn insider's guide to Cork Craft Month's exciting exhibitions, shopping opportunities and workshops

With a plethora of culture and content releasing at an incessant rate, finding someone to have that cliched watercooler moment with is getting harder and harder. However, there’s a whole host of pop culture podcasts that do the heavy lifting/watching with you.Trawling through pop culture... so you don’t have to

An exhibition in Skibbereen pays tribute to late photographer Michael Minihane, writes Richard FitzpatrickMichael Minihane has been putting West Cork in the frame for decades

More From The Irish Examiner