A young woman struggling with ill health after developing a tumour died from an overdose after “illicit insulin” was brought into the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last year, an inquest heard.
Jenni Moore passed away at the intensive therapy unit on January 25, more than two weeks after sustaining brain damage while an inpatient at the hospital.
The 26-year-old from Halesworth had been admitted in December with complications from two unsuccessful operations to remove a tumour of the pituitary gland.
A Type 2 diabetic since 2002, Miss Moore suffered from emotionally unstable personality disorder and an abusive relationship, before a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease as a result of the tumour.
Consultant physician at NNUH Dr Franscesca Swords said Miss Moore had been exhibiting “alarming symptoms”.
“Cushing’s can cause Type 2 diabetes and needs much higher levels of insulin for it to work,” she told Norfolk Coroner’s Court.
“She was having incredibly low sugars, which is consistent with too much insulin. We had been reducing her dose steadily.
“We were giving her a fraction of the insulin she had been taking but her blood sugar was still low. Eventually the realisation came to ward staff there was something else at play here.”
Staff then began to discover insulin pens hidden in her room. During an investigation Norfolk Police interviewed Miss Moore’s partner Derek Soanes, who admitted he had brought her insulin pens at her request. No further action was taken.
Sarah Kennard, a lead health officer with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement that during a risk assessment in March 2014 Miss Moore said she “thought she was insulin resistant” as a result of her Cushing’s.
Assistant coroner for Norfolk Nicholas Holroyd recorded a narrative verdict.
“Jenni suffered significant and unhappy health conditions for a number of years,” he said. “Cushing’s exacerbates the diabetic condition to make the patient yet more vulnerable to sugar or hypoglycemia so higher doses of insulin are needed to correct the situation, which made her resistant in a sense.
“There has been evidence insulin was being brought to her in the hospital she should not have had. I do not believe she intended to take her own life. Nothing had occurred to drive her to an extreme act.”
After the inquest Miss Moore’s brother Joe said: “I loved my sister and so did the rest of my family, and we miss her every day.”