South East Wales

Doctor's death at Princess of Wales Hospital ruled accidental

A doctor whose body was found in a hospital toilet died accidentally after taking drugs, an inquest has heard.

Anaesthetist Dr Karim Aly, 31, who lived in Cardiff, was found dead at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, where he worked last August.

The inquest in Aberdare heard that an empty syringe and a blood-stained latex glove were found at the scene.

Coroner Louise Hunt recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying Dr Aly had misused a sedative and an anaesthetic.

The inquest heard that police did not believe at the time that there were any suspicious circumstances.

However, Dr Aly's family later told police they thought he had been murdered.

But the hearing was told that further police investigations revealed no evidence to support this theory.

The coroner concluded there was nothing to suggest any foul play.

Ms Hunt said: "He was found to have a puncture mark on the left wrist which indicated possible injecting into a vein.

"There's no evidence of any third party involvement in his death. All the evidence seems to point in a different direction.

"There's also no evidence of what his intent was that evening in the anaesthetic department.

"The circumstances appear to me to be accidental. I'm satisfied he died from a misuse of Alfentanil and Midazolam."

Alfentanil is an anaesthetic, while Midazolam is a sedative.

The corner also offered her condolences to Dr Aly's family, who are from Egypt and were not present at the inquest.

Syringe cap

The hearing was told that on the night of 25 August, Dr Aly had completed his shift at the hospital and colleagues thought he had gone home.

However, two anaesthetists on the shift after him became concerned when they noticed a toilet door in the department had been locked for some time.

At around midnight, they eventually managed to open the door from the outside and found Dr Aly slumped "like he had fallen off the toilet seat".

One of the anaesthetists, Dr Rutton Hilloowalla, said in a statement Dr Aly appeared dead because rigor mortis had started setting in and he had a blue complexion.

Police attended the scene, and Det Con Jason Kingdom told the inquest a syringe cap was found in Dr Aly's left hand, as well as two syringes on the floor and a blood stained glove.

"At the time there was no evidence showing any third party involvement or anything suspicious," said the officer.

"He was examined and there was nothing evidential relating to third party involvement."

A statement from the doctor who attended the scene and pronounced him dead said he had a puncture mark on his left wrist but no other injuries.

Det Con Kingdom went on to say drugs and new syringes were later found by police at Dr Aly's flat in Cardiff Bay.

He said they were not the sort of drugs bought on the street but rather from a hospital.

Internal bruising

However, the inquest heard that on 28 August police spoke to Dr Aly's family by phone and they believed he had been murdered.

The family had concerns about whether a post mortem examination should proceed, the hearing was told.

Forensic pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbeatter said that when it finally went ahead the results showed the puncture wound on the left wrist and internal bruising that may have been caused by him collapsing into the position he was found in the cubicle.

Consultant forensic toxicologist Dr Simon Elliott told the hearing that the two drugs found in Dr Aly's system could have a sedative effect but also affect the respiratory system.

"The danger of the use of both substances is that both of them can act on the body and potentially result in fatal toxic effects," he said.