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Family say depressed woman "should have been sectioned"
THE family of a woman who died from an accidental drug overdose told an inquest she should have been sectioned for her own good.
Suzanne Cook had a "long history" of anxiety and depression and was described as having "complex needs" at the inquest into her death.
The 53-year-old died at her home in Bramble Crescent, Holmer Green, on August 18, days after a GP raised concerns at her health following a home visit.
The GP, Dr Edward Bray, had advised her to go to Wycombe Hospital to seek treatment - but she did not want to and he had no power to make her attend the hospital as, legally, she could not be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Dr Bray told the inquest he felt Ms Cook should have been sectioned.
And Ms Cook's mother Dora Weaver told the doctor: "I asked for that a long time ago. You were the only one who said she should be sectioned. The surgery was the only one who helped her.
"I had no idea how to treat my daughter. The only way she'd have got better is if she was sectioned."
Ms Cook had been prescribed a number of different drugs, including anti-depressants, painkillers, diazepam to reduce anxiety levels, slow release morphine tablets and medication to control her blood pressure and cholesteral levels. She also suffered from diabetes.
A week before her death she had been complaining of severe pain in her lower back and on August 15 she requested a home visit from her GP.
Dr Bray attended but was unable to get in because nobody answered the door and, concerned she may have taken her own life because of her history of depression, he called the police.
Paramedics also attended and suggested Ms Cook went to Wycombe Hospital, but she did not want to - which Dr Bray said was against his and the paramedics' advice.
Her partner Bruce Maynard, concerned she might take an overdose, said he removed all of the medication he could find in the house and stored it in the back of his car when he went to work.
But when asked if she had ever revealed suicidal thoughts, Mr Maynard said: "No - she was the happiest I'd ever known her. The last six to eight weeks were the best time we'd ever had in the relationship."
He also denied Ms Cook had ever spoken of taking a deliberate overdose but added there were probably extra tablets stored around the house that he did not know about. Dr Bray also stated his belief Ms Cook did not wish to kill herself.
Summing up, Coroner Richard Hulett said: "In those last months she was living an almost twilight existence. She lived a life where she was frequently dosed up, drowsy and sleepy. A lot of the day, she stayed in bed. It's not a pretty or happy picture. It's a life substantially wasted.
"She was, in some ways, the author of her own downfall by not seeking help. She was nowhere near sectionable."
He added Ms Cook was using medication "in a way that had become dangerous", suggesting she had become "addicted" to it.
But he said he didn't think she took the overdose deliberately and recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.