An inquest has heard how dementia patient in Jersey is thought to have died of the sedative drugs she was given - not blood cancer, which was recorded as the official cause of death.
82-year old Annick Sheehan died whilst she was a patient at St Saviour's Hospital in November 2018.
Whilst Mrs Sheehan did have blood cancer, as well as several other medical conditions, an independent reviewer today told the inquest 'no natural causes were sufficient to explain' her death.
The inquest heard how Mrs Sheehan was first admitted to hospital on 13 June 2018, after her husband- her main carer- had been admitted to hospital with a hip fracture. She had been found agitated and wandering- unable to look after herself.
As a result she was admitted to Beech Ward the following day, under the care of the psychiatric team. The plan was that she would be assessed for confusion and agitation and cared for in a safe environment whilst her husband recovered.
She was sectioned under the Mental Health Act due to a combination of her tendency to escape the ward and confusion, and received a working diagnoses of delirium and dementia.
Over the next few months her condition deteriorated rapidly and she became increasingly restless and disorientated. A course of treatment began to relieve both the pain she was experiencing and to sedate her.
By October she became less compliant, and her administered doses were increased.
Professor William Roche, who is a Consultant Pathologist, was brought in to review the files. He voiced concern over the fact that he saw 'no evidence of a structured plan to determine the cause of the worsening delirium and her pain...'.
Instead of investigating other possible causes for her discomfort, she was administered increasing amounts of sedative and opiate drugs and eventually put on an 'end of life' plan.
She was transferred to Oak Ward where terminal sedation (where the patient is given drugs to make them sleep, and relieve symptoms until their illness causes death) was administered on 5 November.
Having reviewed all the material available to me, I can find no natural disease sufficient to explain the death of Mrs Annick Sheehan on 6th November 2018..
He voiced concern that 'the worsening delirium, without efforts to establish a cause, appears to have been regarded as sufficient reason to justify the institution of terminal sedation.'
The inquest also heard from numerous medical professionals who had contact with Mrs Sheehan in the final months of her life.
Dr Abdul Shah, a psychiatrist at Beech Ward told the inquest numerous blood and urine investigations were done but that in dealing with psychiatric patients, it is necessary to weigh up the risk of harm.
He recalled seeing a particular deterioration in Mrs Sheehan in September 2018 following a fall. After that, he struggled to contain her pain.
Due to the complexity of her many medical conditions, he consulted the palliative care team on pain management on 15 October.
Dr Shah told the inquest he took annual leave from 26 October and had no further involvement in her care beyond that point.
Concerns about Mrs Sheehan's treatment were first raised by the Senior Clinical Team at Jersey's General Hospital, who questioned the seeming lack of physical investigation to diagnose the underlying causes of Mrs Sheehan's distress and agitation before her death.
The inquest continues on 31 January.