Chef died from toxic level of anti-depressants

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First published in News

A CHEF who died after being found at the bottom of stairs in an Oxford home for people with mental health problems had toxic levels of an anti-depressant in his system.

Sun Hei Lam, 54, was discovered at about 2pm on April 22 by support worker, Robert Atkinson, who had earlier heard a thud at the top of the stairs.

Mr Lam was pronounced dead at about 2.30pm that day from a large upper gastro-intestinal haemorrhage, due to gastritis – an inflammation of the lining of the stomach – and toxic levels of fluoxetine – a drug he was taking.

The chef, who was born in Hong Kong, lived in Iffley Turn in a multi-occupancy house for people with mental health problems, Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard.

Coroner Darren Salter heard at Mr Lam’s inquest on Tuesday that pathologist Clare Verrill had concluded his death should be attributed to toxic levels of fluoxetine in his system.

Mr Salter said: “There is evidence that not only could the fluoxetine have been at a toxic level and in a fatal range, but it could have been responsible for the gastritis.

“I think that the best opinion is that this is a drug-related death, not least because of the fluoxetine.”

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