Promising student died after prescription pills overdose — (Watford Observer)

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Watford Observer

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A teenager with a history of eating disorders died after taking an overdose of prescribed pills in her halls bedroom, a coroner’s court heard.

Promising student Melanie Christine Scheen died at Kingston Hospital after prescription pills overdose

Promising international student Melanie Christine Scheen, 19, who was studying modern languages at Roehampton University died at Kingston Hospital after taking up to 15g of an antidepressant.

The venlafaxine pills were said to be prescribed in her native country Switzerland before she arrived for the start of the autumn term last year.

Miss Scheen alerted police to her overdose minutes after taking the drug after midday on November 6 last year.

An ambulance crew arrived at her campus room.

She was questioned and admitted to having previously taken laxatives and diuretics after binge eating, as well as trying to kill herself twice before by standing in front of a bus and also starving herself.

When Miss Scheen arrived at Kingston Hospital she appeared well but a potentially life-saving charcoal substance given to her 15 minutes after she arrived, was only given to her two hours from the time she apparently took the overdose, when normally it would be given within an hour.

Grieving father Wilfred Scheen, who had travelled from Switzerland on the day, asked Dr Dan Harris from Kingston Hospital why it had taken so long.

Mr Harris said: “Without taking history into account we would have been working blind. Without the details they [ambulance] provided it would have been more difficult.”

His sentiment was echoed by others who said they believed no time had been wasted in giving treatment.

In the lead up to taking the overdose Miss Scheen had kept a post it note with details of three drugs and their lethal quantities.

She had also visited a GP nurse attached to the university three times in the days before her death to discuss her eating disorders and also met with a counsellor.

Miss Scheen died in the early hours of November 7, 2011, after her health deteriorated.

Speaking after the inquest Mr Scheen, said: “I am not a doctor but the thought that my daughter must have administered these drugs five to seven minutes before she phoned the ambulance – if there was any antidote, even if it was just charcoal, they should have administered it straight away.”

Narrative verdict by overdose of prescribed medication.