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Woman took an overdose one day after leaving hospital


A WOMAN took a lethal overdose a day after doctors deemed her "optimistic" and released her from a psychiatric hospital.

Nicola Matthews, from Selsdon, who suffered from borderline personality disorder, died from an overdose of prescription drugs on October 16, 2010.

The 39-year-old had been admitted to Bethlem Hospital following a suicide attempt five days before, but was released on leave on October 15.

Consultant pyschiatrist Dr Jane Boydell told Miss Matthews' inquest this week her patient had wanted to leave and there were insufficient grounds to detain her.

She told Croydon Coroner's Court: "It was not in her interests to be detained.

"I would have preferred her to stay but I did not feel I could force it on her and I did not feel that it was in her interests to do so."

She added: "She was very much of the mind that it (the overdose) was behind her and she was going to move on.

"She was quite looking forward to the future."

Dr Boydell said she had agreed with Miss Matthews that she could stay with her partner, Grant Walker, as long as he agreed.

Miss Matthews could not go back to her own house, in Pixton Way, because the ceiling had collapsed, the court heard.

Dr Boydell told the court she had expected Mr Walker to say Miss Matthews could not stay with him, meaning she would end up staying voluntarily on the ward.

She told the inquest that she wished she had spoken to him herself, rather than leaving nurses to do so, adding: "I am really sorry for that. We were not asking him to take care of her.

"The question was just whether she could actually go and live with him again."

Mr Walker's statement to the inquest was not read out in open court.

However, a lawyer for the Bethlem said it would "dispute Grant's statement that she (Nicola) appeared to be a nuisance to hospital staff and they wanted her to go home."

The court heard Miss Matthews suffered a severe form of the disorder and regularly self-harmed. She was severely overweight and awaiting an operation to fit a gastric band.

Since her suicide attempt of October 11 she reported 'pseudo hallucinations' telling her to kill herself.

But by October 15, doctors said she seemed better, with Dr Boydell adding she did not display hopelessness, a key predictor of suicide.

She added: "She was quite a bit more upbeat than when I had seen her before."

Miss Matthews was found having overdosed by Mr Walker just before 2am on October 16.

She was rushed to hospital but died around an hour later.

The inquest ended on Wednesday, with an open verdict recorded by Coroner Dr Roy Palmer.

Woman took an overdose one day after leaving hospital

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