Former Hailsham nurse twelve times over therapeutic morphine dose dies

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A former nurse from Hailsham who was 12 times over the therapeutic dose of morphine was found dead on her kitchen floor, an inquest at Eastbourne heard today (Thursday).

Katherine Weisz, from Church Farm Lane in Chalvington, died on January 3 after being discharged from hospital in December following a suspected second stroke.

Karen Patterson, Miss Weisz’s best friend, said, “Kate was very intelligent, incredibly funny and full of life. Kate was so happy to go home after spending so long in hospital. I still had concerns with her managing on her own. I do not know if Kate took her own life.”

Miss Patterson told the inquest she had seen a ‘carrier bag full of opiates’ when she drove over to visit Miss Weisz on the day of her death.

Miss Patterson said in a statement, “There has been a lot of system failings which need to be looked into. We want to avoid this happening to anyone else. We are pleased with the coroners’ office, who will leave no stone unturned.”

She told the inquest her friend had a history of health problems which caused her severe pain and meant she took prescription drugs for 10 years.

She said, “Whenever the pain increased, the prescription increased too.”

The inquest heard that on the day before Miss Weisz’s death she was visited at her home by Emma Doran, a nurse from Care at Home.

Miss Doran told the inquest she called 111 after visiting the house to find Miss Weisz on the kitchen floor. Miss Doran spent the next two hours with Miss Weisz until she was satisfied her patient was okay and an ambulance was on its way.

The next morning community care nurse Susan Gent found Miss Weisz unresponsive on the kitchen floor and called for an ambulance. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pathologist Dr Zainab Ali, who carried out the post mortem, said the cause of death was aspiration of gastric contents which she considered to be a ‘terminal event’.

Coroner Alan Craze adjourned the inquest and requested the medical professionals provide more information on the systems which were in place to treat Miss Weisz.

The coroner highlighted the carrier bag full of opiates. He said, “I will be contacting the pharmacy further. It is a potential source of very interesting information.”