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Saturday 20 September 2014

Toxic dose of painkiller killed US tourist

Gareth Naughton

Published 29/08/2014 | 02:30

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Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a verdict of death by misadventure
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a verdict of death by misadventure

An AMERICAN tourist died after accidentally taking a toxic dose of codeine prescribed after she hurt herself pulling her bag while travelling to Ireland, an inquest heard.

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Jonatha Skeete (68), a mother-of-two from Laurelton in Queens, New York, was pronounced dead at St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Dublin, on July 27 last year.

Her husband Glen Skeete did not travel for the inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court, but in his deposition said that they had travelled down to Powerscourt in Co Wicklow and she slept for the whole journey.

She collapsed and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

A report to the coroner from Dr Rafid Khashan at the Dame Street Medical Centre said that she had attended on July 25 - the day she arrived in Ireland.

"Jonatha was complaining of pain ... caused while pulling a heavy bag during her travels. Jonatha was unable to abduct her shoulder and was walking with a limp," Dr Khashan said.

He advised her to go to a physio and prescribed her seven days' worth of anti-inflammatory painkiller Diclac, five days' worth of benzodiazepine Anxicalm, and a week's worth of painkiller Tylex - a combination of paracetamol and codeine. The Tylex was prescribed at one to two tablets to be taken three times daily, as needed.

At the request of coroner Dr Brian Farrell, gardai contacted Mr Skeete this week to find out if his wife had been taking excessive amounts of the medication. Garda Alan Conlon said that he had confirmed that she was in "quite a lot of pain" and had been "self-medicating".

She had taken "quite a few" pills for the pain but Mr Skeete had been unconcerned because she was a nurse's aide in the past, he said.

At post-mortem, toxic levels of codeine were found in her blood. The coroner said he had no evidence that Mrs Skeete intended to harm herself. He returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Irish Independent

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