A 22-year-old man man died after taking an overdose of medication in a failed cry for help, a coroner has ruled.
An inquest into the death of Daniel Collins at County Hall in Dorchester was told he died of a cardiac arrest at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) on April 7 after taking 25 times the prescribed limit of anti-anxiety drug Propranolol.
Mr Collins had a history of depression and mental health issues after his mother Judy Collins died in October, 2013 after suffering from cancer, the inquest heard.
Mr Collins was also feeling a lot of pressure and stress about returning to work at the family-owned rope making business, and was sacked eight days after he returned in February this year, the inquest heard.
The inquest was told he tried to commit suicide in February following his sacking, but called an ambulance which took him to DCH and he was referred to the Crisis Home Treatment Team (CHTT).
Dr Paul Walters, the lead doctor of the team, said following the failed suicide attempt in February, Mr Collins was discharged from the CHTT a couple of days after saying he felt better but was referred back to the team on March 25 after he admitted himself to Bridport Hospital and said he felt ‘hopeless’ and had suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.
Dr Walters told the inquest the CHTT had been in contact with Mr Collins every day from March 25 until April 4 to assess his condition and Mr Collins asked for counselling to help him deal with the issues as he had found it helpful in the past.
However, a firm date was never set.
Mr Collins was discharged from the CHTT on April 4 after a meeting between him and the team as he had made progress but on April 6, he consumed a large quantity of Propranolol which was prescribed when he was first diagnosed with depression in 2013. He phoned an ambulance, before he died in hospital the following morning.
His father Nigel Collins questioned whether a cut to funding for mental health services had impacted on his son’s care, as his son had complained to him several times that every time he met with the CHTT team it was a different nurse or doctor.
Dr Walters denied that was the case as the team was ‘just about fully staffed’ and there was no lapse in the continuity of the care given to Mr Collins Coroner for Dorset Sheriff Payne ruled that Mr Collins had died from Propranolol toxicity as he had 7.46mg of the drug per litre of blood, which is nearly 25 times the prescribed limit of 0.3mg, and the resulting pulmonary oedema and cardiac arrest Mr Payne said he felt the CHTT had done ‘a good job’ in trying to help Mr Collins and he couldn’t record a suicide verdict.
He said: “I do have particular regard that he phoned the ambulance on both occasions he took an overdose, and they are not the actions of someone who really wants to end their life.
“He consumed an excess of medication but his intention in doing so is unclear, it might have been a further cry for help from him.”