A DOCTOR has claimed that a 21-year-old woman who died after four hours in an overwhelmed A&E department, following an overdose of diet pills, “more likely than not” would have lived if she had been moved to intensive care.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital staff worked in vain for 50 minutes trying to resuscitate Beth Shipsey after she went into cardiac arrest on February 15, after she had overdosed on 2,4 Dintrophenol (DNP).

Speaking before Worcestershire Coroner’s Court on Friday (January 12), Dr Roger Slater, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care, said, “there are a number of reversible causes to that cardiac arrest” and it is “probable that some of those causes could have been avoided”.

“I think if intensive care were involved – the blood test, the ECG, measuring arterial blood gas, all those things, the possibility of giving sedation and assessment of where sedation could have been given, would have flowed from that point,” he said.

The court had heard that there is no antidote to DNP and clinicians must simply manage the symptoms as they arise until when or if the patient recovers.

The emergency staff who treated Miss Shipsey had never heard of DNP before, with information being printed from TOXBASE – a database used by staff regarding an unfamiliar drug.

Dr Slater said that, on initially observing Miss Shipsey, he would have called the ITU registrar who would have “seen the situation and they would have read TOXBASE – it’s a crucial point.

“The situation is a very busy A&E department, and a junior doctor working very hard. The issue there is having time to read it [all the information from TOXBASE].

“I think the intensive care, because it would have been clear it was an unusual situation, they would have spoken to the [National Drugs Unit] consultant, who would have told them there is a risk of serious rapid demise.”

“The fact that Bethany was moved on two occasions [in the emergency department] meant that monitoring was disrupted and not continuous,” he added.

“What would have happened if she had not had the seizure, was being intubated and ventilated, the possibility of cooling as temperature rose further. Would she have survived then? That is the point,” he added.

The inquest continues on Monday.