An ambulance call handler was found dead in bed a day after being released from hospital following an accidental overdose.
Shazia Sirat had told doctors at the Royal Stoke University Hospital that she’d taken the prescription drugs to help ease back pain.
An inquest heard the 48-year-old mum was discharged following treatment and was due to be referred to the neurosurgery department for her spinal problems.
After Mrs Sirat returned to her home in Netley Place, Blurton, her family carried out regular checks to make sure she was OK.
Her husband Sirat Hussain, who slept in a separate room as he worked different shifts, went to see her at 9.30am the following day, July 26.
She failed to respond when he tried to talk to her, but he didn’t realise something was wrong until he checked again at 11am.
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In a statement, he said: “I touched my wife and she was cold. It was a bit of a blur. My son began CPR.”
The emergency services arrived, but it was too late to save her.
Empty blister packs were found in her bedroom bin, which had only been emptied the day before.
The inquest was told Mrs Sirat had been experiencing both mental and physical health problems ever since a tragic accident almost two decades ago.
One of her children and her sister had died in a car crash in Pakistan. She had also been in the vehicle and was critically injured.
Mr Hussain said his wife had struggled to cope and would turn to over-the-counter and prescription medication, including pills prescribed to others.
On one occasion, she had opened a car door on the motorway and threatened to jump out.
Mrs Sirat, who worked as a call taker for West Midlands Ambulance Service and had previously been a translator at a Stoke-on-Trent school, was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder.
But at the time of her death, she was no longer under the care of mental health services.
Paying tribute to her, Mr Hussain said: “She was an absolutely fantastic mother. She worked very hard every day to provide the best life that she could for our children.”
Mrs Sirat had suffered further heartbreak just a month before her death when her father passed away.
On July 23, the family had called an ambulance as she was unwell. It emerged she had taken the overdose.
She was discharged from hospital two days later and returned home at 3pm. After cleaning the house, she went up to bed. Her children checked on her several times that night and she was breathing but asleep.
Following her death, toxicology tests revealed she had taken a variety of tablets. Most were at a ‘therapeutic’ level, but there was a high level of the painkiller tramadol.
Her cause of death was put down to tramadol toxicity.
Mrs Sirat’s GP confirmed she had not been prescribed that particular drug.
North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said he was satisfied she hadn’t intended to take her own life that day.
“There is little doubt that she was in physical pain,” he added. “This was a lady who, for many years, had been abusing prescribed medication.”
He concluded it was a prescription drug-related death.