A TALENTED trainee paramedic died in hospital after being found unconscious in her bedroom.

Aoife Mcmanus, a “dedicated” student at the University of Brighton, died at the city’s Royal Sussex County Hospital on June 12.

The 23-year-old had been found hanging and unconscious in her bedroom by her mother Lyn in the early hours of June 4.

The Argus: Aoife died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, BrightonAoife died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

While Aoife had a history of depression and anxiety, Coroner Alicia Keen recorded a conclusion of death by misadventure

An inquest at Brighton Coroner’s Court heard Aoife had suffered a “devastating, irreversible brain injury” resulting from a lack of oxygen and that she would never wake up.

After eight days in the intensive care unit, the decision was made to take her off a ventilator.

Aoife, from Haywards Heath, had been admitted to A&E on June 3 after she lost consciousness while out drinking with a friend.

The Argus: Aoife McmanusAoife Mcmanus

She was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital by ambulance, however by the time she arrived she had regained consciousness.

A statement from Dr Maria Finn, a consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital, said: “Aoife denied taking an overdose or any recreational drugs. She reported a recent break-up with her boyfriend and reported drinking too much as a result.

"Her observations were normal, she was fully conscious and said that her mum was coming to pick her up and take her home.”

Dr Finn said she did “not consider” Aoife to be at immediate risk of suicide.

Aoife left the emergency department with Lyn shortly after midnight. Four hours later, she was readmitted after being found hanging.

Coroner Keen said: “Doctors were not concerned that she had taken anything other than the alcohol.

"Reference was made then as well to the break-up of a relationship, and I know that has been mentioned and it was rather one-sided break-up.”

The court heard in May, Aoife’s mental health began to deteriorate following the end of the relationship.

A statement from Margaret Mckeon, advanced nurse practitioner at Bird in Eye Surgery in Uckfield, said Aoife was diagnosed with depression in 2015 and had self-harmed.

In 2019, she reported having “dark thoughts” and contemplated driving to Beachy Head after the break-up of a five-year relationship.

After receiving treatment and starting university in September 2020, she was feeling “happier” and enjoying her paramedic training.

In May, Aoife told the practice she felt she was having “a mental breakdown” and stopped taking medication.

The statement said: “She was due to start her final placement of the academic year, and this was something she looked forward to as she enjoyed helping others.

"She had thoughts of self-harming but denied suicidal inclination. She felt safe and was at home with her mother.”

Aoife told the GP she felt “alone and hopeless” but did not intend to kill herself because of her mother and she wanted to become a paramedic.

Aoife was given a referral to the assessment and treatment service (ATS) at the Millwood Unit at Uckfield Community Hospital.

The court heard a telephone assessment was due to take place on May 19, however it was rescheduled after Aoife visited the A&E department at Worthing Hospital on the day the appointment was due to take place.

David Manser, a mental health nurse who treated her at the hospital, said she “visualised hanging herself” as a way of being at peace.

Aoife had a telephone consultation with Mark Oldham, a community mental health nurse from ATS, on June 1.

He said she was feeling “anxious” and had discussed her break-up, saying she was “not coping well”.

Mr Oldham said if he had felt Aoife had been at “immediate risk”, additional plans would have been put in place.

A multi-disciplinary meeting was held on June 3 to discuss a care plan.

Throughout her treatment, Aoife maintained contact with the university and informed her course leaders that she was receiving mental health treatment.

Coroner Keen said this showed she was “committed to becoming a paramedic”.

The cause of death was given as a hypoxic brain injury and asphyxiation.

In her conclusion, Coroner Keen said she did not see anything that led her to believe Aoife intended to take her own life, although it was a likely outcome of her actions.

She said: “Aoife said she didn’t want to take her own life and she had too much to live for and that describes someone who was able to recognise the way ahead.”

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