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Written by KATIE BOWLER
08:00 Friday 29 June 2012
A MOTHER-OF-TWO died suddenly due to an underlying heart condition which she was unaware she had, an inquest has heard.
Heather Collins, of Woodward Road, Swadlincote, was found dead at home by her mother on February 3.
Police carried out an investigation which concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances.
The inquest into her death, held at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court, heard how the 37-year-old had suffered with long-term alcohol issues and had battled for years with weight problems as well as depression.
Doctor David Green, a consultant pathologist based at the Royal Derby Hospital, told the hearing that Mrs Collins had a significant natural cardiac disease and had taken a high level of prescription drugs.
“My main findings were that Mrs Collins had cardiomyopathy (a heart muscle disease) which could have gone on for years or caused sudden death, which is what appears to have happened in this case.
“She had a fatty liver from excess alcohol and an enlarged heart.
“I was unable to establish a specific cause for the heart enlargement but it could have been related to a number of things.
“The toxicology report showed no traces of alcohol but a variety of prescription drugs, including codeine, paracetamol and citalopram (an anti-depressant), which were at a high level.
“The high dosage of drugs would have contributed to her death.
“Primarily the cause of death was cardiomyoptahy with acute poisoning of codeine and citalopram.”
Her mother, Brenda Jones, said Mrs Collins was ‘trapped in a vicious circle of depression and addiction’.
She said in evidence: “Heather suffered with post-natal depression and was in the habit of taking more than her prescribed dose of medication.
“She struggled with alcohol and I was only made aware of it about three years ago — prior to that, I just thought she was binge-drinking.
“The alcohol problem got worse and she started losing jobs because of it.
“I think her depression was also linked to the alcohol abuse.
“She struggled, having a full-time job as a dental nurse and two young children.
She began drinking and it was a habit that became an addiction.
“She has always battled with weight problems and had a gastric band fitted in 2008, but it was unsuccessful. She also had a marriage breakdown in August last year.”
Deputy coroner Louise Pinder said she was satisfied Mrs Collins did not take a deliberate overdose, that the death was not accidental or natural and, therefore, by way of conclusion ruled a narrative verdict.
She said: “Mrs Collins was a young mother who died very quickly at her home alone.
“We heard from Dr Green that this would have been a peaceful death and she would not have been aware of what was happening.”