Peterborough woman who died after developing narcolepsy did not want to have to have swine flu vaccination

Katie Clack
Katie Clack

A shy young Peterborough woman who developed narcolepsy after receiving the swine flu vaccination did not want to have the injection, a court heard today (Thursday).

Former Deeping School pupil Katie Clack, (23), died after she fell from the Queensgate multi-storey car park in Peterborough, on September 23, 2014.

The Peterborough nursery nurse, who died from head injuries, had developed narcolepsy within weeks after been given the vaccine for swine flu in December 2009.

Within days of having the injection the previously happy young woman was sleeping 12 hours a day, the court heard. At some points she was even sleeping up to 19 hours a day.

Her weight later ballooned by eight stone over the next four years and she stopped washing as her mental health deteriorated.

An inquest at Stamford heard that when Miss Clack was told she needed to have the vaccine because of working with children she was apprehensive. At the time she was working at Herlington pre school in Peterborough.

When she told her bosses she didn’t want to have the injection it was said at the inquest that Miss Clack was told that unless she had it she could be dismissed within a month.

Her father Bob Clack said: “She said ‘I don’t want it’. She went back the next day and they said you either have the injection or leave the job at the end of the month.”

Miss Clack then offered to sign a disclaimer to try and get out of having the injection.

It was claimed this was rejected despite a pregnant woman at the nursery being exempt and she received the injection on December 8, 2009.

Her “friendly” personality then rapidly deteriorated within weeks and she began to suffer regular catalepsy attacks, where people lose control of their muscles.

After numerous visits to her GP and she was referred to a specialist diagnosed with the both conditions around a year later.

Doctors initially prescribed modafinil to help control her chronic tiredness but her family claimed that this led to a deterioration in her mental health, the court heard.

She started suffering from clinical depression and psychosis.

Miss Clack was later sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Peterborough City Hospital in April 2013.

During her four week stay she was diagnosed with schizophrenia by consultant psychiatrist Dr Sepehr Hafizi during her four week stay there.

She left the hospital at the end of April but was readmitted voluntarily within days.

Her mental health steadily improved enough for her to go home in June 2013 from which point she was supported by the Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust community mental health team.

After her discharge she progressively got worse and started to hear voices - including a woman called Daisy - who “told her to kill herself”.

On July 8, 2013, she took an overdose but was judged not to need readmission by doctors and was handed back to the community mental health team in Peterborough.

Dr Gemma Hendry is a clinical psychologist who supported Miss Clack from her discharge from Peterborough City Hospital until her death.

She saw Miss Clack at 11am the day before she died.

She said: “There was no suspicions raised with me. She had plans for later in that week. At no point did she express suicidal intentions or did she become stressed in the last session.

“When she was signing out at reception she waved to me.”

The court also heard from Professor Elizabeth Miller from Public Health England, an epidemiologist who studies patterns of disease in the population.

She said the most likely cause of Miss Clack’s narcolepsy was the vaccination.

Mr Clack, a pensioner, described his daughter before she had the vaccination.

He said: “She never expressed any signs of low mood or depression growing up.

“I have never had any concerns about her mental well being. When she was growing up she was a shy, quiet girl,

“When she was about 15 she seemed to get this obsession with washing her hands and she had a thing about pencils on the table. She wanted them all lined up in a row.

“We were slightly concerned about that but when I went to see the doctor he said it was in the realms of what was OK.”

He added: “I feel it was a domino affect. Katie was very unlucky. She had finished college and had the job she wanted when she had the vaccine which caused the narcolepsy.

“This caused her to need to medication which caused the psychosis which then caused the depression from 2013 and then the tragic events of 2013.

“That’s how I see it.”

Senior coroner for South Lincolnshire Paul Cooper recorded a narrative verdict and will release his full verdict on Wednesday, August 10.

More: Nursery nurse fell from car park ‘after developing narcolepsy following taking swine flu vaccine’