Junior doctor who made impassioned defence of NHS staff killed herself with drugs stolen from hospital

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A junior doctor whose passionate defence of NHS workers was shared tens of thousands of times killed herself by taking an overdose of drugs stolen from her own A&E department.

'Hugely talented' Dr Rebecca Ovenden, 32, was found by her devastated husband at their home in March, an inquest heard today.

The medic, who had suffered mental health issues in the past, had been secretly taking vials of drugs and syringes from her workplace.

Dr Ovenden, who worked at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and also as a flying doctor with Devon Air Ambulance, penned a passionate Facebook post defending NHS staff which was shared 38,000 times, the hearing was told.

She wrote: “Please don’t complain in earshot of your healthcare professional about waiting four hours to be seen in the middle of the night, free of charge by a doctor, with a smile on their face who has not been rude to you, who has reassured you, when the reason it took four hours to see you was because they were trying to save the life of an elderly man who had not wanted to make a fuss about a cold when he was dying of a raging chest infection.

"Every day we run the risk of not seeing a patient who desperately needs medical attention in a timely fashion because our department is full of people who did not need to be there."

Colleagues described her as “hugely talented” and said she was happy in her dual emergency roles.

Colleagues described her as “hugely talented” and said she was happy in her dual emergency roles
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Dr Ovenden, known to her friends as Becky, was going through a separation from her husband Paul when the tragedy happened.

The inquest heard she deliberately took an overdose. She left a suicide note in a book of medical notes by her bed in her home in Plymouth.

Assistant coroner Andrew Cox said Dr Ovenden was “better at helping to treat others than she was helping to treat herself”.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner described her as a “remarkable young lady” who was excelling as a doctor.

Dr Ovenden, originally from Grantham, Lincs, was the third female doctor who died or went missing in the West Country in a year.

Last December the family of Dr Rose Polge, 25, called for action to halt the “crisis” affecting trainee doctors at her inquest.

If you’re struggling to cope with mental health issues, there are ways you can access help.

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.

Scott Blair - UK News
By Scott Blair - UK News 11/10/2017 14:59:00