Preston nurse’s death was not suicide – but drug experiment that went tragically wrong

A coroner has decided critical care nurse Katy Blezard did not intend to take her own life when she injected herself with hospital drugs in her bedroom at home.
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And the 27-year-old's family has said her death in November 2019 was both "tragic and avoidable" after an inquest returned a conclusion of "misadventure."

Katy's sister Lucy welcomed the decision after the hearing at County Hall in Preston, saying: "The family want to thank the coroner for arriving at what we believe was the correct outcome.

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"We want to thank all the witnesses and experts who gave up their time to help this process.

Katy Blezard with her beloved dog Zippo.Katy Blezard with her beloved dog Zippo.
Katy Blezard with her beloved dog Zippo.

"Katie's death was tragic and avoidable. She was snatched away from us at a time when things were on the up for her.

"This has brought some closure to the family. Katy will always be remembered by everyone who knew and loved her as a fantastic nurse who always went that extra mile - and the perfect sister to me."

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Assistant Coroner Janine Wolstenholme said evidence proved Katy had been making plans for the days ahead just hours before her death.

Katy Blezard did not intend to kill herself when she injected herself with hospital drugs.Katy Blezard did not intend to kill herself when she injected herself with hospital drugs.
Katy Blezard did not intend to kill herself when she injected herself with hospital drugs.
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The Longridge hockey player was excited about the season ahead and had been doing some 'prep' for a course she was on the following day. She had even selected the clothes she was going to wear.

But she was found unresponsive in her bedroom the following morning by her mother Christine. She had a canular in the back of her right leg and two opened phials of drugs - one an anaesthetic and the other a muscle relaxant - were found near her body.

The coroner said she that while she was satisfied Katy had administered the drugs to herself "I do not find she intended her death to be the outcome."

Death was due to respiratory failure and multiple drugs toxicity.

Katy was said to have fallen back in love with nursing after landing a new role in critical care.Katy was said to have fallen back in love with nursing after landing a new role in critical care.
Katy was said to have fallen back in love with nursing after landing a new role in critical care.
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The inquest had heard that the normally bubbly young woman had a history of anxiety and depression dating back to her teens.

Months before her death she had been going through a tough time after problems at work and with her health.

She had previously been attacked twice by patients and in one incident she received serious facial injuries which left her in pain, especially when wearing her mask as the keeper for Longridge Hockey Club.

The inquest heard the incident knocked her confidence and resulted in flashbacks and nightmares. She had felt "unsupported" and "let down" by her employers following that incident.

Katy was making plans in the days before her tragic death.Katy was making plans in the days before her tragic death.
Katy was making plans in the days before her tragic death.
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Between February and September 2019, she had not been in a good place. But a change of job, from a neurological ward to the critical care team, recaptured her love for nursing.

"She had fallen back in love with nursing once again and in the eyes of her family they had the old Katy back," said the coroner.

The drug phials found in her bedroom were from the same batches stocked in critical care at RPH. The hospital trust's chief pharmacist said it was "likely" they had come from Katy's workplace.

The assistant coroner said that in one of the conclusions she had to consider - suicide - the key point was intention and if at the time had she wanted to end her life.

She felt there was no suggestion that Katy had any intention to take her own life.