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Hypothermia killed East Lancs drinking binge wife
1:00pm Thursday 19th June 2014 in News
A MUM who used alcohol as ‘self-medication’ was found unconscious in a stream by her husband and sister-in-law, an inquest heard.
Ailsa Gordon, from Clitheroe, was discovered suffering from hypothermia in Glencoyne Beck in the Lake District on April 1.
An inquest into the death of the 49-year-old heard she was flown to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, but died the following morning.
On admission to hospital, her core body temperature was 21 degrees. Effects of hypothermia begin at 35 degrees, the inquest heard. A post-mortem examination revealed when Mrs Gordon died she had 128mgs of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal drink-drive limit is 80mgs.
But Dr Nicholas Mapstone, who conducted the autopsy, said it was likely she could have had more than four times that amount of alcohol in her system when she was found 11 hours earlier.
The inquest, held at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court, Kendal, also heard from Mrs Gordon’s husband David.
He said his wife had displayed signs of borderline personality disorder and seasonal bipolar stretching back to their first year of marriage.
She had also admitted herself to psychiatric hospitals in the past, he said.
He added: “I’ve seen her go from reasonable to having to phone the police within 45 minutes.
“She self-medicated with booze. For her it was getting away from her trauma, a complex post traumatic stress disorder brought on by childhood abuse.”
The inquest was told that the couple were living at the holiday home while he had a month off work and she was working two days a week in Blackburn.
It was not until Mr Gordon’s sister Eleanor arrived that he began to worry for his wife’s welfare.
He set off with his sister and found Mrs Gordon at around 6pm lying on her back with her nose and eyes just above the water near Seldom Seen cottages, Glenridding – 700 yards from the cottage where they were staying.
Coroner for South and East Cumbria, Ian Smith recorded a verdict of accidental death.
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