Hucknall family hit by double death tragedy

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A family was hit by a double tragedy after the deaths of a baby and then his grief-stricken Hucknall mother, an inquest heard.

Carol Chew (44) lost her son, Harry just short of his second birthday from a rare disorder, ‘floppy baby syndrome’ in March 2008.

Mrs Chew struggled to cope as her mental health deteriorated, and in November 2012, she took an overdose of medication and alcohol, which caused cardiac arrest and “devastating” brain-damage.

She never recovered and died at the Fernwood care home on Hankin Street, Hucknall, on Friday 8th August last year, the inquest at Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard.

Her family was at her bedside, including husband Christopher and parents, John and Doris Hard.

Assistant Coroner Jane Gillespie said: “This is a deeply sad case.

“After her tragic loss, Mrs Chew continued to suffer from anxiety and agitation.

“In July 2012, she told doctors she was at the end of her tether. She had long-standing psychiatric problems but was not considered suicidal.

“She received a high level of care and active treatment, but continued to deteriorate.

“I cannot imagine the grief and tragedy experienced by the family. My deepest sympathies go to them.”

In recording a narrative verdict, Miss Gillespie said Mrs Chew died “as a result of a chest infection, which complicated her physical condition, which was a direct result of her overdose.”

The inquest consisted of Miss Gillespie reading reports by Mrs Chew’s GPs and by Jane Howden, the general manager of Fernwood, which is a privately-owned care home run by the Nottingham Neurodisability Service.

Mrs Chew was a patient at the Southview Surgery on Musters Road, West Bridgford.

Dr Nicholas Huchinson, of Southview, said he had known her since 2004 because their daughters were friends at the local primary school.

Dr Hutchinson reported that after the death of Mrs Chew’s baby son, she suffered from insomnia, mood fluctuations, fatigue and tearfulness and was diagnosed with depression.

She later complained of “a pounding head, a racing heart, a loss of appetite and pain to her back and abdomen”. She suffered from bad tinnitus and found it hard to sleep.

Mrs Chew visited or rang Dr Hutchinson several times and was prescribed medication.

But she became confused and tense, and started to isolate herself in the bedroom, away from the rest of the family.

It was considered that Mrs Chew was not suffering from bipolar disorder, but she was referred to a psychiatrist for counselling and plans were made to pass her into the care of the community mental health team.

After her overdose, Mrs Chew became a patient at Linden Lodge neuro-rehabilitation unit at Nottingham City Hospital, the inquest heard.

She was switched to the specialist nursing home at Fernwood in May last year, and came under the care of Hucknall-based GP, Dr Jeremy Hill.

She contracted pneumonia last July and after being discharged from the QMC, Dr Hill said she “remained febrile, chesty and unwell”. She had symptoms of fever, agitation and respiratory distress.

Mrs Howden reported that while at Fernwood, Mrs Chew had to be fed by tube, vomited regularly and was doubly incontinent. It took three members of staff to hoist her in and out of bed.

It was agreed with her family that she should not be rescuscitated or returned to hospital.