A coroner has highlighted the “pressing need” for real time monitoring to help prevent accidental overdose deaths like that of a young mother
At an inquest into the death of 26-year-old Alissa Campbell in Sydney, coroner Harriet Grahame outlined the extreme difficulty medical practitioners had in obtaining a clear picture of her medical history and medicines use.
A spreadsheet of Ms Campbell’s prescriptions and those of her mother – from whom she sometimes obtained Valium – was described as a “startling document outlining a very large number of prescription medications obtained from different doctors and filled at a variety of chemists, sometimes even on the same day”.
In the six months leading up to her death, Ms Campbell had seen 13 GPs.
“However, as the inquest progressed it became increasingly clear that no one practitioner had a complete picture of her health needs or indeed her current medications,” the coroner noted.
“While some of the doctors prescribed a range and volume of medication that was acceptable in isolation, the total picture that emerged was disturbing.”
One GP, who prescribed “cautiously”, was unaware of Ms Campbell’s long history of migraine and of troubling benzodiazepine use, for example.