Man may have taken more than 300 tablets, Carlisle inquest told — (News and Star)

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News and Star

By James Johnson

Published at 11:59, Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A man who died of a drug overdose may have taken more than 300 tablets before being taken to hospital.

Christopher Keith Dorrance, 55, died at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle on March 11 after being admitted the previous day.

At an inquest into the death of Mr Dorrance, who went by Keith and was nicknamed Budgie by his friends, the coroner heard that Mr Dorrance had gone to a party on the night of March 9 at the house of his friend Michael Douglas.

He took some beer and a bottle of rum to the party, and by about midnight had to be taken home by a friend because he was too drunk to stand properly.

Later that night Susan Robinson, Mr Dorrance’s partner of 26 years, returned with their two children and went to sleep.

The following morning one of their daughters found him crawling on his hands and knees, saying he didn’t know where he was.

Miss Robinson woke up the next day to find that Mr Dorrance had been sick on the carpet and couch where he had been sleeping.

She said: “He shouted ‘Susan! Susan!’ and I shouted down the stairs ‘what?’

“He was on his hands and knees on the floor and he had been sick, and as I was walking down the stairs he said ‘I’ve taken all the tablets.’

“I asked where they were, and they were all over the kitchen work top.”

She called an ambulance and it was later found that 324 tablets of seven different drugs were missing.

The tablets included medication for blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

Miss Robinson said Mr Dorrance may have had impaired judgement due to hypoglycemia, which had cause him problems in the past.

She said: “He had never taken too many tables before that I know of – he was fine.

“He didn’t really let things bother him and he wouldn’t do anything to harm himself.”

Mr Douglas, who had known Mr Dorrance for more than 20 years, said he felt guilty about his friend’s death.

He said: “I have wracked my brains for weeks and months over it.

“I believe if he hadn’t been at the party that night he would still be here today.”

Dr David Roberts ruled that Mr Dorrance’s was drug-related death, and said: “This was an extremely sad and tragic episode. Miss Robinson has lost her long-term partner and the children have lost their father.”