Mum died after taking painkillers
A MUM-OF-ONE suffering with back pain died after taking addictive painkillers which had been prescribed to a relative who had cancer.
Kayla Oldfield, from Ogmore Vale in Bridgend, died at her home in Glyn Road on February 12 this year after taking the opioid painkiller oxycodone.
An inquest into the death of the 28-year-old mum was told that she had been suffering from back pain for a number of years and had been prescribed the painkiller Tramadol by her GP in 2015.
Richard Hatch, her partner of seven years, told the hearing that her pain had been ongoing and she had been back and forth to her GP “without any joy”.
He said that in an attempt to ease the pain, Ms Oldfield began taking “sporadic doses” of oxycodone tablets that had been prescribed to Mr Hatch’s mother, who died in October 2017 after suffering from cancer.
Mr Hatch, 34, said he was aware she had been taking strips of the tablets following his mother’s death but was unhappy about it because they had not been prescribed to her.
“She didn’t talk about taking them, she just took them sometimes when the pain was bad,” he said.
“She didn’t take them all the time, she only took them a couple of times. I only saw her take them once or twice.”
He told the hearing he did not know how often Ms Oldfield took the tablets or how many she took, but said he believed his mother had been given 45mg tablets.
The hearing at Pontypridd Coroner’s Court was told that in the days leading up to her death, Ms Oldfield had been suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting – possible sideeffects of oxycodone – but in general was her “usual self”.
On the day of her death, she told Mr Hatch she was feeling tired and went upstairs to go to sleep at around 1pm.
At around 3pm, Mr Hatch left their home to pick up their six-year-old son from school. When they returned at around 3.20pm, Mr Hatch found Ms Oldfield unresponsive in bed.
Dr Andrew Bamber, who provided the toxicological report, told the court that Ms Oldfield had high levels of oxycodone in her blood: 1.2ml per litre of blood.
He said: “Oxycodone is an opioid drug and is in a similar group as heroin and morphine and it can make people go into a comatose state.
“It comes in different strengths and people prescribed the drug often have their dose increased over time because they build a resistance, which Kayla wouldn’t have done.
“I don’t know how much Kayla had taken, but it’s likely she took the drug in the hours before her death.
“1.2ml per litre of blood is considered to be three times the fatal limit, but I’ve seen people who have taken less than that die because they do not have a resistance to the drug, but I’ve also seen people who are fit and healthy and regularly taking a high dose.
“It’s unlikely Kayla would have that resistance because she did not take it regularly.”
He told the court the likely cause of death was oxycodone toxicity.
Recording a narrative conclusion, Coroner Graeme Hughes accepted the medical cause of death, and said her death was drug-related.