Hereford & Worcester

Beth Shipsey inquest: A&E overcrowded on night of overdose

Bethany Shipsey Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Bethany Shipsey was at the end of the corridor in the emergency department because it was so busy, an inquest heard

A woman who died after taking diet pills did not get appropriate care because an A&E department was overcrowded, an inquest has heard.

Bethany Shipsey, 21, from Worcester, took an overdose of tablets containing the substance DNP in February 2017.

A junior doctor who saw her said it was "one of the busiest days" he had seen.

Dr Alireza Niroumand said Ms Shipsey was at the end of the corridor in the emergency department in Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

He said he could not transfer her to the resuscitation room because the department was full.

He added he should have consulted the poisons department when he saw Ms Shipsey at 18:30 to understand the drug he had "never seen before" and did not use a database called "Toxbase" for information, because the files he needed had been given to him by a nurse.

Worcestershire Coroner's Court was told Dr Niroumand should have referred the case to the intensive care team, but did not.

The inquest heard Ms Shipsey was having ongoing treatment for mental health issues, linked to trauma from when she was raped by a previous partner, but was "not considered a suicide risk", despite previously taking 14 overdoses.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Bethany was a vegan and an animal welfare supporter

Dr Nirvana Chandrappa, a senior consultant psychiatrist from Worcestershire Health and Care, said he had found 24 red and yellow diet pills in her jacket at a meeting in January 2017.

He said he spoke to Ms Shipsey about the dangers of using the diet pills but she told hospital staff she had stopped using them.

Kirsty South, a senior sister at the hospital and co-ordinator of the A&E department at the time Ms Shipsey was admitted, described the day as "one of the most challenging shifts" she had worked and "more than busy".

She added: "It wasn't that we couldn't cope, it is just that we got busier and busier and busier throughout the day.

"I would say [the number of patients] was very close to exceptional."

The hearing is expected to last five days.

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