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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Coroner halts inquest into west Cumbria woman's death

An inquest into the death of a Maryport pensioner had to be halted by the coroner because he needed more information.

The hearing was told that it was not clear if Mary Elizabeth Powell, 90, of Parkside Care Home, deliberately took an overdose or if a prescribed increase in her painkiller led to her death.

She died on September 30 and a post-mortem revealed she had an overdose of Fentanyl, which acts like morphine, in her system.

After hearing from care home staff and a doctor, deputy coroner Robert Chapman adjourned the inquest.

Fentanyl is given to patients via a patch on the skin.

Mrs Powell had her prescription for the drug increased on August 7, September 22 and 25 because her pain was increasing.

Dr Nick Shaw told the inquest: “Fentanyl builds up slowly in the body.

“When she had her dosage increased, the level of the drug could have gradually built up in her body.

“The overdose could have been the effect of the medication building up.”

Linda Donaghue, manager at Parkside, said that the home had strict procedures when administering medication.

It is likely to be at least three weeks before the inquest is resumed.

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