Sheffield anaesthetist killed himself with cocktail of drugs after second wife sent him divorce papers

A consultant anaesthetist killed himself with lethal cocktail of drugs stolen from a private Sheffield hospital hours after receiving divorce papers from his wife, an inquest heard.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 20:06
Mr and Mrs Eapen

For several weeks George Eapen had refused to accept his marriage was over, but when he realised there was no way back he drove to a beauty spot in the Peak District to end his life.

The Indian-born doctor, who lived with his GP wife Amy in Totley, had sought counselling to deal with the angry outbursts and mood swings that were destroying their three-year marriage.

Mr and Mrs Eapen

But after the divorce papers arrived in the post last October, the 41 year-old texted friends to say he was going to kill himself.

They rang police before forming a search party to find their colleague. After discovering his car in which he had left letters and a recently signed will they desperately scoured the area for him.

Tragically by the time they found the consultant, surrounded by disused syringes, it was too late. Despite attempts to save him, he died later that day in hospital.

Chesterfield Coroners Court heard Dr Eapen had moved to England in 2001 after completing his medical studies in Chennai and working at a hospital in Mumbai.

Thornbury Hospital where Dr Eapen worked

After taking up a job as a trainee anaesthetist in Glasgow, he moved to Sheffield in 2004 and within six years he had been promoted to an £80,000 a year job as a consultant neuroanaesthetist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mr Eapen, who was also a university lecturer, had been hurt when his first marriage in 2007 ended within a year. He met Amy in 2012 and the pair married two years later.

But cracks began to show and they separated because of his moods. He promised he would seek help and attended anger management classes and eventually the couple were re-united.

But in September last year Amy decided to move out of the home they shared on Totley Brook Road, Totley, saying she could no longer carry on.

Mr and Mrs Eapen

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Derbyshire Assistant Coroner Peter Nieto said: “After that George made a number of attempts at reconciliation, with letters and phone calls, clearly he had a great deal of difficulty accepting it.”

On October 14 he opened his mail to find papers from his wife demanding a divorce. That morning he went to work at the private Thornbury Hospital in Fulwood before driving out into the Peak District.

Mr Nietio added: “Later that day he sent a number of texts indicating he planned to take his own life. No one had had any forewarning of the actions he eventually took.”

After parking his car he walked to disused lime kilns above Miller’s Dale, near Bakewell. He sent texts to friends outlining his intentions just after 5pm.

Thornbury Hospital where Dr Eapen worked

Once inside the kiln the anaesthetist inserted a cannula in his left wrist and administered a deadly dose of the anesthetic propofol along with the powerful painkiller lidocaine.

His widow sobbed as the coroner outlined the details of his death. The combination of the drugs caused acute respiratory arrest.

He was found him at 6.40pm and paramedics soon arrived on the scene but they could not resuscitate the doctor. He was rushed to Chesterfield Royal Hospital where he was pronounced dead just before 10pm.

Recording a conclusion of suicide Mr Nieto said he was satisfied the doctor had the expert knowledge necessary to administer a toxic dose in the most effective way.

“It was clear George was unhappy, but he hadn’t contacted anyone prior to his actions or close enough to those actions to allow anyone to intervene,” said Mr Nieto.

“It’s my view that he has done what he has done with the intention of committing suicide.”

The coroner said because the drugs were not controlled there was no proof he had taken them from the hospital that morning, although it was “reasonable” to assume that was the case.