Wigan mum with pain condition died after taking paracetamol overdose

A “wonderful” mum of three who died after a paracetamol overdose did not intend to take her life, a coroner ruled.
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Nina Bannister was rushed to Wigan Infirmary in the early hours of September 22 after being found on the sofa at her home on Gidlow Lane, Beech Hill.

But she suffered multi-organ failure and died later that day.

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An inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard the 52-year-old was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in the 1990s and had hypochondriasis, fearing she would get a serious illness.

Bolton Coroner's CourtBolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

She also had chronic pain syndrome, which the inquest heard can be aggravated by depression and can lead to taking more pain medication.

Her GP Dr Malgosia Bychawska-Misterek believed this was managed through over-the counter painkillers, as her last prescription for paracetamol was given in December 2019.

Mrs Bannister spent time at The Priory in 2018 after an overdose. She was seen at home by the mental health team afterwards and was regularly attending a pain relief clinic.

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The inquest heard she was taken to hospital on September 4 after being found incoherent and spent four days there with a chest infection.

She was seen by a mental health worker but declined to be assessed, believing her issues were physical.

Dr Bychawska-Misterek spoke to Mrs Bannister on September 16 by phone, when she sounded “drowsy” and was “slurring” her words. Mrs Bannister said she had taken some tablets, but not what kind, and was advised to go to hospital.

She told her best friend she had taken too many paracetamol on September 20 and the next evening her son Gareth found her “groaning” on the sofa and called 999.

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No empty boxes of tablets were found near her. Two boxes of paracetamol prescribed in 2019 were found in the kitchen, one unopened and the other with notes on the box by Mrs Bannister showing how many were left.

A post-mortem examination showed she died of multi-organ failure caused by acute paracetamol toxicity.

Tests showed she had taken a “fatal level” of paracetamol and her liver and kidneys were “grossly abnormal”.

Pathologist Dr Naveen Sharma said she died because of an “acute event”, not a build-up of paracetamol over time.

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Coroner Stephen Teasdale said: “I am satisfied that Nina Bannister caused her own death by taking an excess of paracetamol, but I am not satisfied that she intended to take her own life. Accordingly, I do not record a conclusion of suicide.

“I intend to record a conclusion of a drug-related death.”

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