Medication concerns raised day before woman’s death — (Yellow Advertiser)

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Yellow Advertiser

Friday, 13 September 2013

A CANVEY woman died in her bed the day after a doctor noted concerns about how much medication she was taking. Victoria Hall, 46, of Chapman Court, was discovered dead by her daughter on November 17, 2012. Empty methadone bottles were found close to her body.  Tests on her blood revealed therapeutic amounts of several medications, low levels of alcohol and a potentially lethal concentration of methadone.  Police and paramedics found Ms Hall, who was left housebound by ‘severe agoraphobia’, in darkness when they attended the address, as her electricity metre had run down.   Psychiatric records read out at an inquest last Friday at Southend Magistrates Court revealed Ms Hall had worked as a business manager until 1999, but had then developed various mental health conditions.   The records said Ms Hall had an ‘unhappy childhood’ and had been ‘abused by people in her life’.  She had a ‘history of violence’ and was known to have abused drugs including alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. She used heroin for a 10-year period, with her use becoming daily at one stage.  She was given methadone to treat her heroin addiction. Notes by a doctor, read aloud in open court, revealed there had been concerns about how much medication Ms Hall was taking immediately prior to her death.  Dr Jagdish Chavda visited Ms Hall’s home on November 16, 2012, following complaints that she was dizzy and unwell.  He noted: “Looking at her medications, it is no surprise she is falling over.”

Ms Hall’s medications included antacid Omeprazole, antidepressants Mirtazapine and Amitriptyline, anti-psychotic drug Quetiapine, anti-anxiety medication Diazepam and tranquiliser Xopiclone. However, Dr Chavda also noted his belief that it would not be possible to ‘wean her off of it’.  Ms Hall was pronounced dead the following day. In a summary of the November 16 visit, written two days after Ms Hall’s death, Dr Chavda wrote he was ‘not happy’ with Ms Hall’s ‘vast amounts of medication and alcohol use’. He wrote that she needed a mental health review.  Ms Hall’s eldest son Simon addressed the court during the hearing, questioning why doctors had prescribed ‘vast’ amounts of medications in the first place.  He said: “I’m wondering what can be done about this… She was very aware of what she should take and how much.” Coroner Yvonne Blake responded: “You can raise your concerns with the GP service and with SEPT. You can contact them and ask why they didn’t reduce it.” Ms Hall was last seen by her daughter at 4pm on the day of Dr Chavda’s visit.  The following day, paramedics pronounced her dead at 6.23pm after she was discovered ‘unresponsive’.  Ms Blake recorded a narrative verdict.  She said: “The deceased was found at her home address and was unresponsive. Paramedics attended but confirmed life was extinct and the medical cause of death was given as methadone intoxication.”