A gifted young artist with “everything to live for” died after accidentally overdosing on painkillers, an inquest heard.
Emma Chadburn, 22, turned to powerful drugs – some of which had been prescribed to other people – after several operations at Hull Royal Infirmary to remove her gall bladder and tackle infections and abscesses in 2017.
Speaking after Monday’s inquest into Emma’s death, her father Paul Griffin, who split from her mother Donna Chadburn when their daughter was a child, said: “She was larger than life. Such a caring person. She was there for everyone, she really was. Emma was a one off.”
Her mother added: “Emma was an artist. She had everything to live for. She was an absolute individual. Vivacious.”
On November 27 last year, Miss Chadburn found her daughter unconscious in her bedroom.
‘I knew in my own mind she’d gone’
At around 1.30pm, Ms Chadburn went to speak with Emma. She said: “I got no response.”
Ms Chadburn dialled 999 and began CPR attempts, as instructed by the call-handler.
“I knew in my own mind that she had gone but I did what I was told,” she said.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and took over resuscitation attempts, which continued en-route to hopsital. She died at 2.55pm that same day.
Tests later revealed the presence of several antidepressants and painkillers.
Dr Laslo Karsail, who carried out the postmortem, gave the medical cause of death as “drug poisoning”, explaining how certain drugs, if taken together, could kill.
Ms Chadburn told Hull Coroner’s Court on Monday how her only daughter had struggled to cope with pain after her operations, which had resulted in her self-medicating.
Other people’s medication recovered from home
“Emma was in pain most of the time,” she said. “Emma was prescribed different types of medication. She spent most of the time in her bedroom.”
Police confirmed medication bearing the names of several people had been recovered from Emma’s home in Ganstead Grove, east Hull, where she lived with her mother.
“I was aware some of the medications had not been prescribed to Emma,” said Ms Chadburn. “Emma knew where my medication was kept and could easily have taken them.”
Ms Chadburn told how she had last seen her daughter alive at around 9.30am on the day she died, when she said she had taken pills, but did not say what they were.
Emma briefly attended Malet Lambert School, before transferring to South Holderness Technology College. She then studied art at Bishop Burton College, Wilberforce College and Hull College.
Returning a formal conclusion of accidental death, Rosemary Baxter, area coroner for Hull and the East Riding, said: “Emma’s mother said she became depressed due to pain. Nothing was said that would indicate that Emma want to self-harm or take her own life.”