Depressed woman died after hospital discharge

Old County Hall

Old County Hall

First published in News
Last updated

A WOMAN with a history of depression found dead the day after being discharged from a mental health hospital died of natural causes, a coroner has ruled.

Divorced Teresa Smith, 40, was found in bed at her home in Dirac Place, Didcot, by her father Brian Smith on April 11.

She was discharged from Oxford’s Warneford Hospital the day before, after spending several days there, Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday.

The hospital’s consultant psychiatrist, Dr Olga-Maria Tsatalou, said Ms Smith had a “severely emotionally unstable personality disorder” and had frequently discussed suicide.

At the time of her death, Ms Smith was on medications including anti-anxiety drug diazepam.

In a statement read out to the inquest, her father said he received a call from the hospital on April 10 to say his daughter was being discharged.

He said: “I was unhappy with this as I felt it wasn’t safe.”

He spoke to his daughter between 5pm and 6pm that night, he said, and she sounded “down and depressed, but that was normal for Teresa”.

He found his daughter at her home the next day, and a search by police found no suspicious circumstances.

Forensic pathologist Ian Roberts said he could find no trace of any substances in her blood which could have led to her death.

He concluded her medical cause of death had been a cardiac arrest due to heart disease exacerbated by asthma.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter ruled that she died of natural causes.

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