Death of mother-of-two (31) caused by accidental paracetamol overdose
Published 19/09/2015 | 19:35
A mother of two described as "one in a million" died after an accidental paracetamol overdose despite attempts to save her, an inquest has heard.
The inquest heard that medical staff carried out resuscitation attempts and a CT scan on the 31-year-old.
The liver of the Belfast woman failed. She was then placed on a list for an urgent transplant and airlifted to King's College Hospital in London for specialist treatment.
Mrs O'Hara, however, suffered an acute brain haemorrhage on March 24 and her family was warned that surgical intervention was "likely futile" and had a high fatality risk.
The mother of two boys died just before 10pm on March 25.
Coroner Sarah Ormond-Walshe said it was an accidental death and the recognised complications suffered during attempts to save her were contributing factors.
"As part of the aggressive and far-reaching treatment she received to try to save her, sadly she suffered a complication of one procedure prior to her death," she said.
"This was a complication associated with the insertion of an inter-cranial pressure monitor (epidural)."
The inquest also heard Mrs O'Hara, who worked at Dunnes Stores in the Parkgate Centre, had a habit of "chronic self-medication" and may have increased this in the days leading up to her hospitalisation. She had been experiencing flu-like symptoms and diarrhoea.
"The deceased self-medicated with over-the-counter analgesics and had done for some time," said the coroner.
She added that it appeared that in the days leading up to March 20 she had taken more tablets than normal. The coroner said the high paracetamol level found in her blood indicated that.
Coroner Ormond-Walshe concluded that Mrs O'Hara's death was accidental and "contributed to by suffering a recognised complication of a hospital procedure carried out in an attempt to improve her condition".
Following her death hundreds of messages of support for her family were made on social media.
One friend posted: "She was one in a million that touched the hearts of everyone she met."
Arlene's husband Tommy previously spoke of the support he and his family had received following his wife's death: "People have been just brilliant," he said.
"Even people in England have sent well wishes. My family have been fantastic, my brother has been my rock in this.
"The support has been unbelievable. I never thought that after Arlene got sick that my wife was going to be dead. I promised her on her last day I was going to look after the boys. I can't let her down."
The family recently made a donation to the Royal Victoria Hospital Liver Support Group after raising £3,200.