Bethany ‘Beth’ Shipsey, 21, died in February 2017 at Worcestershire Royal Hospital
The death of a 21-year-old rape survivor was today ruled as suicide after she took an overdose of online diet pills.
Bethany ‘Beth’ Shipsey, 21, died a year ago at Worcestershire Royal Hospital after taking a fatal amount of slimming pills containing toxic chemical DNP.
Coroner Geraint Williams exposed a series of failings in Miss Shipsey’s care at the busy A&E department.
But the coroner said there was not enough evidence to suggest she would have survived had she received better care.
Miss Shipsey had taken 14 overdoses before and was receiving mental health support following an abusive relationship.
But her inquest at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court heard she ‘had not been considered a suicide risk’ despite her history.
Her family gave an emotional statement outside the final hearing today, slamming the hospital staff for their failings.
The Shipsey family gave an emotional statement outside Worcestershire Coroner’s Court today
They slammed the ‘inadequate’ Worcestershire Royal Hospital where their daughter Bethany died, claiming she was exposed to ‘third world’ conditions in A&E
Her mother Carole Shipsey (pictured with husband Doug) who is a trained nurse, told Sky News the family counted 27 patients being treated on trolleys in corridors at the hospital
Miss Shipsey (pictured) took a fatal amount of diet pills containing the toxic chemical DNP
Carole Shipsey, 57, said the failings in medical care on the busy emergency ward ‘didn’t give Bethany a chance’.
Bethany’s father Doug, 52, claims the hospital has admitted to him there was a ‘system failure’ surrounding the 21-year-old’s death.
Today’s hearing was told she was taken to a resuscitation room, but was moved to make way for others, and only had a tracheotomy for respiratory arrest when it was too late.
She was moved three times in 20 minutes and died uttering the words ‘mum, mum, mum’.
On the night she was admitted, the first junior doctor she saw, Dr Alireza Miroumaud, had never treated a patient who had overdosed on DNP diet pills before, the inquest was told.
BETHANY SHIPSEY’S FAMILY STATEMENT IN FULL
Following today’s hearing, Bethany’s parents Doug, 52, and Carole, 57, slammed the hospital and said the Government were ‘complicit’ in their daughter’s death.
Speaking outside Worcester Coroner’s Court, Doug said: ‘Beth did not intend to take her own life.
‘In addition to the serious failings of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Beth’s life was brutally cut short by the effects of the deadly industrial toxic substance DNP, which was illegally sold as a so-called diet pill.
‘Beth was unlucky enough to be taken to an inadequate A&E department which was overcrowded, overwhelmed and under-staffed – literally a first world hospital in third world circumstances.
‘Even in A&E Beth stood no chance of survival. ‘During the inquest it became evident that a series of significant and serious failings led to Beth having a cardiac arrest.
‘She died on the same trolley which she had been aimlessly wheeled around the A&E department, in and out of the resuscitation room, around the overcrowded corridors which were full of public view.
‘No dignity, or privacy even in the final few moments of her life.
‘Nothing was done to help save Beth’s life.
‘Beth’s human rights were breached in the very place that you would most expect them to be preserved.
‘[This is] a system which is very broken. ‘The government blame winter pressures, but this happening all year round.
‘In any case, winter is no new phenomenon.
‘For as long as the situation is allowed to continue, the government’s failure to address it makes them complicit in all the harm and death caused to patients – not winter pressures.
‘The hard working nurses and doctors are expected to work and function in the toughest of circumstances, and this undoubtedly leads to mistakes.
‘Parents beware – it’s important that everyone knows that DNP is not actually a diet pill.
‘It’s a lethal industrial compound with no known antidote which is inserted into capsules and illegally sold over the internet.
‘Beth was a wonderful young person with her whole life in front of her but Beth has been cruelly taken from us and from her world.
‘We would like to meet Theresa May to hear exactly how and when she says all this will come to a stop in our hospitals across the UK, and also the deadly toxic substance DNP will have a proper and effective controls put in place.’
The 21-year-old woman died after overdosing on the online diet pills
He admitted he should have referred her to critical care hours earlier – but the department was full and he had been ‘too busy’.
He also failed to consult a service called Toxbase, which provides appropriate advice for medics on different drugs overdoses.
Kirsty South, a senior nurse on duty before Miss Shipsey died, broke down in tears as she gave her evidence.
She described the evening of the young woman’s death as ‘one of the most challenging shifts we have ever worked’ and confessed ‘it would be wrong for me to say that it doesn’t occur regularly’.
A previous hearing was told how Miss Shispey ordered the diet pills from the Ukraine online, before texting her friend with a sad face emoji and the words: ‘I have just overdosed on DNP.’
Parents Mr and Mrs Shipsey hold a photograph of their daughter Bethany
Bethany’s parents Doug and Carole Shipsey with their son Tom at Worcestershire Coroner’s Court in Stourport last month for a previous hearing
She was rushed to the Worcestershire hospital on February 15 2017, where she had been on home leave from its psychiatric ward.
Her mother said she ‘had false confidence in her fellow colleagues’ after A&E staff dismissed her daughter’s symptoms as a panic attack.
She said at one point she was even forced to try and open her daughter’s airways herself because of ‘complacent’ nurses failing to act.
Her father told the hearing he was forced to show doctors what the killer drug DNP does on his phone, while his daughter complained of ‘burning from the inside.
Mrs Shipsey described her daughter as a gifted photographer and animal welfare activist who was ‘full of life’.
But she said her mental health problems started when she faced bullying on social media and broke up with her boyfriend.
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local Samaritans branch, or click here for details
DNP, the ‘extremely dangerous’ drug sold as a weight loss aid
DNP is sold as a weight loss aid, but has been described as ‘extremely dangerous to human health’ by doctors.
It is sold mostly over the internet under a number of different names but contains 2, 4-Dinitrophenol.
It is marketed mainly to bodybuilders as a weight loss aid as it is thought to dramatically boost metabolism.
The manufactured drug is yellow and odourless and was previously used as a herbicide and fungicide. It was launched as a slimming aid in the US in the 1930s but then banned in 1938, due to the severe side-effects.
Depending on the amount consumed, signs of acute poisoning could include nausea, vomiting, restlessness, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid respiration and irregular heart-beat, possibly leading to coma and death.