NHS nurse, 29, killed herself with insulin overdose, inquest hears

NHS nurse, 29, killed herself with insulin overdose after she was suspended from work for stealing drugs from hospital store, inquest hears

  • Emily Madeley, 29, was found unconscious at her home in Hale, Greater Manchester on February 5, 2019 
  • The nurse at Wythenshaw Hospital had been suspended just days earlier 
  • Miss Madeley later died after suffering severe brain damage from the overdose
  • Coroner: ‘Emily was an experienced nurse with a history of mental health problems’
  • For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details

An NHS nurse took her own life with an overdose after she was suspended from work for stealing medication from a hospital store, an inquest heard.

Emily Madeley, 29, took the hospital drugs so she could use them at home when she was left suicidal following a sexual assault.

She was eventually caught red-handed by colleagues and sent home from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, where she had worked in A&E and on a general medical ward specialising in diabetes care.

But on February 5, 2019 – just three days after being suspended by health chiefs pending a disciplinary inquiry – Miss Madeley was found unconscious at her apartment in Hale, Greater Manchester.

She died ten days later due to suffering fatal brain damage as a result of the overdose. Inquiries revealed she had made internet searches relating to suicide in the weeks before her death.

Emily Madeley, 29, was found unconscious in her flat in Hale, Greater Manchester, on February 5, 2019, just three days after being suspended by health chiefs

According to her LinkedIn profile, Miss Madeley – a former telephone counsellor – had become a nurse in 2013 after graduating from Leeds University with a degree in Adult Nursing and was said to working in the Clinical Decisions Unit, part of the emergency department.

But the Manchester inquest heard she suffered from various mental health issues including chronic anxiety, low mood symptoms and depression. She had previously taken an overdose and drank heavily.

Tamala Campbell, a psychological well-being nurse who treated her, said: ‘There were issues in a relationship breakdown which led to low mood and low self-esteem. 

‘In July 2018, she was traumatically sexually assaulted and sustained physical injuries but she did not wish to pursue the complaint.

‘At the time, she said she had suicidal ideation and she said “I would be better off dead…”


Miss Madeley was admitted to hospital but died ten days after taking an overdose

Coroner Nigel Meadows said: ‘On the balance of probabilities, I am satisfied she has caused her own death and therefore did intend to end her own life’

‘[She] told me she drank nearly every day – around one and a half bottles of wine a day.

‘She said she took no recreational drug use but did take cocaine six months earlier when she was off work. Counselling didn’t agree with her and she was offered CBT therapy.’

Miss Madeley’s best friend Peaches Buttress said: ‘I knew Emily drank alcohol regularly and occasionally took drugs. I met with her on February 1, 2019, and she said she was feeling really down. 

‘We went to a pub to talk and she appeared upset and agitated.

‘I tried to calm her down and she left the pub at around 11pm. She was due to work on February 2 but she called me in the night and said she was upset.’

Over the next few days, Miss Buttress said she and another friend regularly checked on Miss Madeley to see if she was alright.

She went on: ‘On February 5, I got a funny feeling that something wasn’t right. I got a spare key and went around to her flat. I got in the flat and found her on the sofa and dialled 999.’ 

Paramedic Stephen Brannigan, who attended the scene, said Miss Madeley was found lying on the sofa unconscious but breathing. 

A post mortem examination concluded she died as a result of Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to an overdose with drugs and alcohol, which was contributed to by depression.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Manchester Coroner Nigel Meadows said: ‘Emily was an experienced nurse with a history of mental health problems. 

‘She had been a victim of sexual assault before her death and had a previous history of taking an overdose. She clearly had low mood and was offered the opportunity of more help but did not pursue [it]. 

‘She had a history of mental health problems and had recently been suspended from work…

‘On the balance of probabilities, I am satisfied she has caused her own death and therefore did intend to end her own life.’ 

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.

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