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Inquest into Laura Logan's death at St John's House, Palgrave rules death by natural causes

PUBLISHED: 18:16 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:16 21 February 2017

Beacon House, in Ipswich, where the inquest took place. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Beacon House, in Ipswich, where the inquest took place. Picture: SU ANDERSON

A 21-year-old woman who collapsed at a mental health hospital in Suffolk died of natural causes, an inquest has ruled.

Laura Logan, originally of Newcastle, was detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act at St John’s House in Palgrave, near Diss, when she died on September 7, 2015.

At around 8.10am that day, Ms Logan opened her door and called out for help. Staff thought she was having a panic attack and took “appropriate steps” to support her, the inquest heard.

They asked her to slow down her breathing and to sit up. A pulse oximeter gave a reading of 91%. She struggled to breathe and “remained frantic”, prompting emergency support from other wards. She had also “thrown” herself on the floor seemingly in the recovery position, before returning to bed.

A second reading gave 71%, while her face turned “grey”. A care worker called 999 for paramedics, and had to use a landline phone after the emergency phoned failed to work.

Paramedics arrived within minutes, but could not save her.

A post-mortem examination determined the cause of death as bilateral pulmonary embolism, which relates to a blockage of the lung’s artery, presumed by deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A GP checked for signs of DVT a week before Ms Logan died but could not find any symptoms.

Assistant coroner Jacqueline Devonish recorded a verdict of death by natural causes. She added it was an acute episode.

Ms Logan was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting only women. It was unconnected to her death.

She was admitted to St John’s House in 2013. She showed signs of improvement in response to hormone replacement therapy, despite side effects of diabetes and weight gain, before her death.

She was due to be reassessed for a possible transfer to a facility close to her family in Newcastle just two days after she died.

A statement issued after the inquest on behalf of St John’s House, run by Partnerships in Care, read: “We would like to express our sympathies to Laura’s family and will listen carefully to the coroner’s comments.

“All staff now have access to a portable phone, although we note the coroner’s comment that the use of a landline in this case did not affect the outcome and that staff were well trained and well organised.”

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