Paramedics lost fight to save overdose man

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A woman in tears told an inquest how she held a drip for ambulance crews as they battled in vain to save her partner from an overdose of tablets.

James McGovern (54) couldn’t be revived and died at their home in Queen’s Road, Bourne, on June 8.

Mr McGovern, known as Jamie, had a history of depression and suicide attempts but assistant coroner Siobhan Kelly said he had not intended to kill himself when he died.

His life was ended by toxic levels of two prescribed drugs, but he always insisted on dosing himself with his medicines rather than accept help from his partner, Lorraine Brown.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Miss Kelly said: “I am satisfied that it wasn’t a deliberate but an accidental overdose of these drugs.”

She told Miss Brown: “You clearly had a very happy and loving relationship together and I am very sorry that you have lost him.”

There was written evidence from Mr McGovern’s mother, Patricia, who said four of her five sons had ME following organophosphate poisoning due to exposure to a now banned pesticide, DDT, when the family lived in Bahrain.

Miss Brown, who lived with Mr McGovern since 2007, had known him since 1999 and said as far as she knew there had been no medically proven link between DDT and his illnesses.

He had various aches and pains as well as depression and a drink problem.

Mr McGovern had psychotic episodes with hallucinations in August last year.

Miss Brown said: “He would think that Spitfires had crashed outside the house. It was always to do with the war, but there was never anything to connect him with the war.”

The hospital said the psychotic episodes were sparked by the “cocktail of drugs” he had taken.

When his drinking was at its worst, he would have two or three bottles of vodka in a day, but he sought help from the addiction help group, Dart, in January.

Mr McGovern lost his job with Tesco at Market Deeping in February, suffered a series of mini-strokes later that month, but seemed to be getting better, and then had pneumonia.

On the night he died, Mr McGovern stayed up to watch a film while Miss Brown went to bed.

She woke to hear him shouting her name.

“I went into the lounge and he was slumped in a chair,” she said. “As I got near him he was saying for Christ’s sake or for God’s sake and he was just shaking and shaking. It was like he was having a fit.”

She called an ambulance.

Miss Brown said: “We had four ambulance people working on him at once and I was holding the drip because there was nowhere to hang it up.”

She realised he had died while they continued working on him.

The couple planned to go to Italy in October and wanted to see the Mary Rose.

“We were going to decorate,” she said. “I had got all the wallpaper and paint.”

Mr McGovern had not mentioned wanting to take his life then, but there had been previous suicide attempts.

Miss Brown said: “He went to Bourne Woods over Christmas and wanted to hang himself but the rope he got broke so he came home.”