An inquest was held yesterday, at Bolton Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, October 5, into the death of Kimberley Drinnan, 35. At the inquest, it was heard that a former teacher, Kimberley, died following an overdose and had presented at the emergency department of a hospital 28 times in the six months leading up to her death.
Kimberley’s mum Kathleen Drinnan told the court that her daughter grew up in Kearsley and went on to study Japanese at Liverpool John Moores University. After graduating, Kimberley moved to Japan to teach English and lived there for around 10 years, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Following a variety of “personal issues” – not elaborated on by Mrs Drinnan – Kimberley moved back to Bolton in around 2017. Later in the hearing, Kimberley’s care coordinator Philip Carroll made further reference to events in Japan.
“There were a number of incidents that she reported and was quite open in making those reports to us in the time spent with her,” Mr Carroll said. One of the incidents that he told the court about involved an ‘altercation’ in a bar in Japan, although he did not go into detail about the precise circumstances.
Kimberley’s GP at Shanti Medical Centre, Dr Ratnarajah, wrote a report that confirmed she had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and emotionally unstable personality disorder. Dr Ratnarajah also disclosed that Kimberley had a history of self-harm.
Kimberley was alcohol dependent and was known to recovery services since January 2018, Natalie Derbyshire from Achieve confirmed. As of August 2019, she was drinking one bottle of vodka per day, Dr Ratnarajah’s report said.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Sohi told the hearing: “Kim had reported quite a lot of traumas throughout her life and this led to a very shattered sense of who she was and where she belonged.
“There was a lot of self-deprecation, where her opinion of herself deserving good things was very low. Coupled with that was intelligence and dry wit, where she’d understand what course of treatment for her particular sets of difficulties was and what could and should be done in order to do that and the pitfalls of taking away her freedoms.
“What was really difficult for Kim was to reconcile what could be there and what she was actually going through. It was actually quite sad in a number of ways because she knew what had to be done and understood some of the acts that she did were in order to express her distress in terms of situations and get that comfort and care that she so desperately craved.”
A report from consultant in emergency medicine Dr Damian Bates revealed that Kimberley had presented to Royal Bolton Hospital on 28 occasions in the final six months of her life – with the most frequent reason being ‘intoxication’ and ‘overdose’. Dr Bates said that eight of these occasions were paracetamol poisoning. Of her presentations, she was referred to the safeguarding team 15 times and mental health services a further 10.
Siobhan Barlow, who was the manager of the Oak Ward during that time, described Kimberley as a “very intelligent woman” who understood her risk and felt “safe and supported” in the hospital environment. Ms Barlow said that on occasions, Kimberley would rip alarms from the wall and pour milk on the ward in a bid to be kept there, rather than being sent home. When asked why they would not keep Kimberley on the ward in these situations, Ms Barlow said that there is a ‘bigger picture’ to think of and added: “We don’t want to enforce these behaviours.”
Dr Gareth Hughes, consultant in intensive care and respiratory medicine at Royal Bolton Hospital, confirmed that Kimberley was admitted to hospital on September 27 2019 following an ‘intentional’ overdose. She died three days later, at 6.17pm on September 30.
A post-mortem carried out by pathologist Dr Patrick Waugh found that Kimberley died as a result of “fulminant liver failure, as a result of paracetamol overdose”. Forensic toxicologist Julie Evans confirmed that she had “excessive” amounts of paracetamol in her system, along with therapeutic levels a sedative that is often used to treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Following Kimberley’s death, external doctor David Chambers was tasked with writing a serious incident review, but Dr Chambers concluded that there had been “no missed opportunities and nothing to consider that might have had a bearing on the outcome”.
Senior coroner Timothy Brennand commended Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust (GMMH) as he recorded a conclusion of ‘misadventure’. He said: “This was an unintended consequence of a deliberate act to self-medicate and a high risk strategy designed by her to get herself into hospital for the full cycle of care that she had received in the preceding months, on no fewer than 27 other occasions.”
Addressing GMMH’s lawyer in court, he continued: “Can I commend the Trust? It is important that the Trust understands that this court can occasionally be critical but it’s equally the case where best and good practice is demonstrated that the court says so and I do say so in this case.”
Help and support
Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk
CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk
Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org
For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/