Boy found mother unresponsive and called ambulance, inquest told

Son of Amy Leech called emergency services at 4.20am after he became concerned for her

An inquest heard a  toxicology report had showed Amy Leech (36) had toxic levels of morphine in her system and very high levels of codeine. File photograph: iStockPhoto

An inquest heard a toxicology report had showed Amy Leech (36) had toxic levels of morphine in her system and very high levels of codeine. File photograph: iStockPhoto

 

A boy aged eight found his mother unresponsive in bed and phoned for an ambulance, an inquest has heard.

Attempts to resuscitate Amy Leech (36), from Mulhuddart in Dublin 15, were unsuccessful, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

Her son called emergency services at 4.20am on March 20th, 2016, after he became concerned for his mother. The woman had been ill for a few days prior to her death. There was nobody else in the house at the time, the inquest heard.

The woman was rushed to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, where gardaí were informed she was pronounced dead at 5.15am.

Family members said Ms Leech was a very private person who had “broken away” from contact with her friends and family. She suffered health problems including anaemia, for which she was hospitalised in 2015.

She developed an ulcer due to the use of painkillers and suffered from swollen legs and breathing difficulties, the inquest heard.

Toxic opiate levels

A postmortem examination gave the cause of death as severe pneumonia precipitated by toxic opiate levels. A toxicology report showed she had toxic levels of morphine in her system and very high levels of codeine. The morphine was not prescribed and its origin is not known, the coroner said.

Ms Leech had informed her doctor that she had difficulties giving up painkillers due to the side-effects, but more recently she had told her doctor she had given them up. She told the doctor the only medication she was taking was paracetamol, the court heard.

“There are certain unanswered questions as to how it came about. She advised her doctor she was no longer talking anything containing codeine,” Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said.

Anaemia depletes the body’s ability to fight off infection, the coroner said. Opiates in the system reduce the effectiveness of breathing and of coughing, meaning Ms Leech was unable to clear her lungs naturally.

Family members said the woman was very private and though attempts were made by relatives to re-establish contact with her, she resisted.

“It’s very sad. She was young and had her little boy and it is very sad for you. Obviously she was dealing with illness in the last year of her life,” the coroner said, returning a verdict of death by misadventure.