The West

Inquest into drug overdose
Inquest into drug overdose

A Perth inquest has begun into the death of a 55-year-old woman whose doctor was suspended after deciding not to call for extra help when her patient took an overdose of morphine.

Dr Felicity Wild will testify in the inquest into Helen Barbara Minett's death in September 2009, with the coroner's court told Mrs Minett - a grandmother who had a long history of attempted suicide and mental health issues - had called a friend and told her she took ten times her normal morphine dose.

The inquest was told in an opening address that the friend had called Dr Wild who came to Mrs Minett's home and found her slurry and drowsy and with a respiratory rate of "barely 5 per cent" before deciding to stay with her as she slept and not calling for assistance.

Mrs Minett's husband came home that afternoon and had a conversation with the doctor in which he was asked to keep an eye on his wife.

Early the next morning he woke to find her not breathing and called a friend before calling Dr Wild and being told by her to call an ambulance and try CPR, which he did.

The inquest was told Dr Wild had since been suspended for seven months for improper and careless conduct after an investigation into her relationship with and treatment of Mrs Minett.

The coronial inquiry will investigate the events of Mrs Minett's last month, the content of various conversations, why an ambulance was not called earlier, and whether calling paramedics earlier could have saved her life.

Mrs Minett's husband, who has since remarried, today testified that his first wife had tried to kill herself in the many years he knew her.

But while her physical health had been very weak and deteriorating the weekend before his death her mood was okay.

He told the inquest that he believed his wife had taken more than her normal dose of medication on other occasions and then called friends to let them know.

However, he said he had not believed there was a need before her death for others to administer all her doses for her because generally she would only take what she was supposed to.

The inquest continues.

The West Australian

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