‘She was in the prime of her life’ – Mystery surrounds young Sheffield woman’s sudden death

Mystery surrounds the death of a ‘bubbly’ and fun-loving Sheffield woman who went to bed one night and never woke up.

Wednesday, 6th February 2019, 13:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 17:00 pm

Nafeesa Hussain, aged 26, was found dead in bed on August 24, 2017, at the home she shared with her mother on Maplebeck Drive in Tinsley.

Her family attended her inquest at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre today looking for answers, but went away disappointed after the Senior Coroner for South Yorkshire West Christopher Dorries was forced to record the NHS worker’s death as ‘unascertained’.

Sheffield Coroner's Court, where the inquest was held

The main evidence at the hearing came from Professor Kim Suvarna, a pathologist from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

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He said: “It is very rare that we do this much testing to find nothing.

“I would be counting on the fingers of one hand the number of cases I have had like this after something like 4,000 autopsies.”

Prof Suvarna added that his investigations had found three abnormal things in Nafeesa’s body, but that none of these could be described as a definitive cause of death.

Coroner Chris Dorries at Medico Legal Centre in Sheffield

These were a lesion in her brain stem which might have caused a fit, an infection in her heart and the possibility she may have been exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

However, he said he had been told by experts in neuropathology that the lesion was an ‘unlikely’ cause of death, and that he had found the heart infection had caused no inflammation, something you would normally see in a fatal case.

And while Nafeesa did have raised levels of carboxyhemoglobin in her blood - a tell tale sign of carbon monoxide poisoning - these were nowhere near the levels need to have killed her.

In recording the death as unascertained, Mr Dorries said that despite extensive inquiries, it had not been able to determine a medical cause of death but he was satisfied that there was no evidence at all of self-harm or third party involvement.

Addressing Nafeesa’s mother directly, he continued: “Madam, I am so sorry about the loss of your daughter, that you have had to come here today and that I can’t give you the answers you so desperately want. Thank you for your dignity and I offer my condolences to you.”

In a statement read out in court by Mr Dorries, Nafeesa’s brother said his sister’s death had been ‘devastating’ for the family, who were still grieving over the death of their father in 2016.

He said: “It is still very raw. Nafeesa was in the prime of life and had everything to live for.”