Sheffield mental health nurse overdosed on medication

A Sheffield mental health nurse died after taking an overdose of medication following a row with her partner, an inquest heard.

Thursday, 30th July 2020, 4:25 pm

Emily Orwin died at the Northern General Hospital on October 27 last year, aged 39.

An inquest held at Sheffield Coroner’s Court this morning (Thursday, July 30) heard that Emily and her partner Helen Clough had clashed at their home the night before, when Emily had been drinking.

Giving evidence, Helen described Emily as a ‘giving and loving’ woman who was ‘passionate’ about mental health patients receiving proper care.

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The inquest was held at Sheffield Medico-Legal Centre.

The couple had been an item for four years and recently moved in together with their dog, Pepper.

Although Emily was the ‘happiest’ she had been in years, she suffered from anxiety and depression and worried that she would not get the chance to be a mother due to her age along with a diagnosis of PCOS.

Helen told the court: “She wanted to talk about having a baby that night. She desperately wanted a baby and so did I.

"But I told her I didn’t want to talk about it after she had been drinking and we would discuss it again when we were both sober.

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"It wasn’t really a row, but there was an exchange. I went to bed and Emily went downstairs to the living room.”

When Helen woke up the next morning, she found Emily lying on the living room floor- but she didn’t worry at first as she seemed alert and shouted for the dog.

"It wasn’t unusual for Emily to be on the floor as she would sometimes sleep there,” said Helen.

"So I gave her a kiss and left for work. I thought she was just being grumpy. But when I got to work I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

"I couldn’t concentrate as I remembered another argument we’d had previously where she said something like, ‘I don’t know why I’m here, nobody cares about me.’

"I just had this feeling that something wasn’t right and I knew I had to go home.”

When Helen returned, she found Emily still on the floor hugging a pillow.

When she asked what was wrong, Emily replied with the name of the medication she had been taking on prescription.

Suddenly, Emily began ‘fitting’ and Helen immediately called an ambulance, telling paramedics what Emily had said.

But in hospital, Emily denied she had taken any medication before she had another seizure and went into cardiac arrest.

Medics battled to save her but sadly she died at 3.22pm that afternoon.

Returning home to meet Emily’s devastated parents, Helen said she ‘fell to her knees’ when empty packets of medication were discovered in the kitchen bin.

She added: “I wish she could have seen herself the way that we all saw her. She could be a pain sometimes, but she was my pain.

"I keep thinking- why did I go to bed that night? Why did I go to work? I miss her. I really loved her.”

Her dad, Mr Unwin, said: “We live in East Sussex and had come up to see Emily about two weeks before this happened. She was the happiest we had seen her in years.

"She loved the house and she had changed her work cycle. She was a loyal person not only to her family, but also to her pets. They meant the world to her.

"So that’s another enigma. I completely endorse what Helen said about Emily’s drinking. She didn’t drink often but when she let her hair down, she let her hair down.

"But to go from a couple of drinks to a tiff to this. It just doesn’t fit, I can’t explain it. It was a complete bolt from the blue for us.”

Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawden said: “I can’t imagine what the family have been through. Emily was clearly an incredible person who has left a massive hole in all your lives.

"Having looked at the level of medication in her system, it’s so high that I don’t think this was an accident. I think it was an intentional act.”

Ms Rawden concluded that Emily had died of suicide.

If you're having suicidal thoughts, it's important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day.

Call: 116 123Email: [email protected]