Rape victim who overdosed on diet pills 'did not get appropriate care due to A&E overcrowding', inquest hears
A young woman who died after taking an overdose of online diet pills did not receive appropriate care because the A&E department was too overcrowded, an inquest heard.
Bethany Shipsey, a vegan and an animal rescue and welfare advocate, took the tablets containing the industrial substance DNP in February last year.
But the 21-year-old from Worcester was "not considered a suicide risk" by mental health doctors despite previously taking 14 overdoses.
Ms Shipsey - known as Beth - was having ongoing treatment for mental health issues, linked to trauma from when she was raped by a previous partner, the inquest heard.
An emergency junior doctor at Worcestershire Royal Hospital said he could not transfer her to the resuscitation room because the department was full.
Under questioning from Michael Walsh, representing Ms Shipsey's parents, Doug, (52), and Carole, (57), the doctor said he should have consulted the Poisons department in order to fully understand a drug he had "never seen before".
At Worcestershire Coroner's Court on Monday, Dr Alireza Niroumand, who was an emergency junior medical doctor at the Worcestershire A&E department at the time, said: "Ms Shipsey was waiting at the end of the corridor because it (the department) was full of (patients in) beds waiting to be seen.
"It was one of the busiest days I have seen at Worcestershire A&E of the few days that I had been working there.
"I'm not a co-ordinator but we had probably been trying too hard."
Dr Niroumand also said he did not use the database called "Toxbase" to learn about the drug because the files he needed had been given to him by a nurse.
During Dr Niroumand's evidence, coroner Geraint Williams asked him: "When you do not know the drug, surely it is even more important to get specialist advice?"
Dr Nirvana Chandrappa, a senior consultant psychiatrist from Worcestershire Health and Care, also gave evidence at the hearing.
He said: "I became aware that there was a suicide pact between her and her ex-partner.
"I came to the view she had an emotionally unstable personality disorder."
After meeting her again in January 2017, Dr Chandrappa said 24 red and yellow diet pills were found in her jacket.
Dr Chandrappa continued: "I had spoken to her about the dangers of using the diet pills.
"Ms Shipsey had informed us they were the pills she bought earlier, had stopped using them and had no intention of using them further.
"In the same week we became aware that she was getting threatening messages."
On the day of the incident, Ms Shipsey had messaged a friend with "tear emojis" saying: "I have just overdosed on DNP. I'm petrified of telling anyone because it is like my 15th overdose."
Dr Chandrappa added: "On February 15 she used her home leave with her family and unfortunately the incident happened and my deepest condolences (go) to the family for what happened."
Kirsty South, a senior sister at the hospital and co-ordinator of the A&E department at the time Ms Shipsey was admitted, told the inquest: "It was a very challenging shift.
"We were often unable to meet the quality access standards that day.
"It was one of the most challenging shifts we have worked. It was more than busy."
Ms South continued to say that on the scale used by the hospital, with normal being green, yellow being busy and red being critical, February 15 ranked as an "overwhelming" or "black" day.
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."
If you have been affected by any issues raised in this article, please contact The Samaritans free helpline on 116 123.