A father-of-two suffering from multiple sclerosis died after ‘impulsively’ taking an overdose of his medication.
Former IT manager Peter Hunter had experienced a change in his behaviour as a result of a brain lesion linked to the progressive disease.
An inquest heard the 43-year-old was also becoming weaker physically. The MS had started to affect his swallowing and he found it difficult to climb the stairs at his home in Grove Terrace, Leek.
Peter’s weekly visits to the charity Headway, where he could socialise and use a gym, had also been halted due to the pandemic.
On November 12, his wife Anna Hunter recalled having a conversation with him. In a statement, she said: “When I returned, I walked into the bedroom and found Peter swallowing his tablets.”
He told her he had taken dozens of the pills. Anna immediately phoned for an ambulance.
What struck her was his words before he got into the vehicle, suggesting he didn’t intend to take his own life. “He asked for some money so he could get a taxi back from hospital,” she said.
Anna later received a call from Royal Stoke to say his condition had worsened. She arrived at hospital and was with him when he passed away.
The inquest was told Peter’s brain lesion meant he would sometimes behave without inhibitions.
Psychiatrist Dr Mike Jorsh said: “In my opinion, the frontal lobe damage had caused him to be impulsive.
“I expressed my admiration of his bravery with the ravages of this illness.”
Dr Jorsh had carried out a clinical review with Peter just days before the overdose. At the time, he had shown no evidence of low mood or suicidal thoughts.
Peter had a history of taking overdoses when he felt frustrated.
North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said: “I am not satisfied this is a case of suicide.”
He pointed out there was an ‘organic cause’ for Peter’s actions that day as his MS had affected his cognitive behaviour.
Mr Barkley recorded a narrative conclusion, saying he died from respiratory depression and aspiration pneumonia, against a background of progressive natural disease.