Overdose may have been call for help

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A “prolific self-harmer” who had been admitted to Accident and Emergency 126 times died after taking two drug overdoses in as many days.

Lee Bunn (27) discharged himself from King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after the first overdose, but returned hours later after taking an “excessive” cocktail of prescribed painkillers and sleeping tablets.

An inquest into the death of the former Spalding man at King’s Lynn County Court on Tuesday heard he had recently found out about the death of his foster mother.

But health professionals said although the death may have been a trigger for suicide, they didn’t believe he intended to take his own life.

They said Mr Bunn, of Terrington St Clement, had taken drugs overdoses in the past, and believed it was a symptom of his mental health problems.

Dr Robert Florance, an Accident and Emergency consultant at the QEH, said Mr Bunn had been admitted to his A&E department 126 times, mainly for overdoses, and also to Boston and Peterborough hospitals.

“Lee’s attendances were so prolific, at times when there were any gaps in his attendances we would think that something had happened.Sometimes he would make sure that he was in hospital to be treated after an overdose.”

Mental health liaison nurse Ben Galvin added: “Lee was a prolific self-harmer and someone who had parasuicidal gestures, but a number of his presentations gave the impression that he was help-seeking rather than wanting to kill himself.”

The inquest heard Mr Bunn had been given up by his parents when he was younger. He was disowned by his foster family after striking up a relationship with his foster sister, and only remained in contact with his foster mother.

The fatal overdose saw Mr Bunn take painkillers that had been prescribed to him, and also painkillers prescribed to his partner. He also took sleeping tablets and antihistamines.

Recording a narrative verdict, assistant deputy coroner David Osborne said: “The question of intent remains unclear. Dr Florance referred to Lee in his report as a very intelligent young man who was charming and kind.”