Blogger Beth Matthews died on psychiatric unit after taking substance she bought online

Beth Matthews, 26, collapsed in front of hospital staff after telling them she was taking a protein powder. Credit: MEN Media

A mental health blogger died in a psychiatric hospital after taking a substance she ordered online, an inquest has been told.

Beth Matthews, 26, collapsed in front of hospital staff after telling them she was taking a protein powder.

She "quickly became unwell" and suffered a cardiac arrest, dying just hours later at hospital.

Beth, from Liskeard in Cornwall, had suffered with mental health from an early age and was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

The inquest, at South Manchester Coroner's Court, heard Beth suffered severe injuries in a failed suicide attempt after jumping from a bridge in April 2019.

Her injuries caused 'significant long-term pain and disability', Assistant Coroner Andrew Bridgman told a jury of six women and five men women.

In 2021 Beth was detained under the Mental Health Act in Cornwall, before being transferred to The Priory's Cheadle Royal psychiatric hospital in Stockport for specialist Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

She remained a patient there until her death in March 2022.

In a statement read to the court, Beth's mother Jane Matthews said her daughter was a "bright and vivacious girl" who would "light up the lives of everyone she met".

Ms Matthews described Beth, who she said was "proud to call herself a Cornish girl", as 'caring', 'intelligent' and articulate' and said she had a 'quick sense of humour'.

Keen musician Beth played both the guitar and the piano and had a number of pets including her 'beloved' cat Sparkles.

Ms Matthews said she "never reached her potential due to the mental illness which overshadowed her later years".

However, she said "people were attracted to her personality" which was evidenced by the "huge Twitter following she gained".

"She touched the lives of so many people," Ms Matthews added. "And as a result she was able to help those who reached out to her."

In a statement read to the court, Emergency Medical Technician Kate Barnes from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said she was called to a 'category one incident' at the hospital at 1:36pm on 21 March 2022.

She said when she arrived staff told her Beth had had "a package delivered which contained (the substance) which she had opened in front of them and managed to consume".

"When I questioned how the incident had happened, they advised me they had questioned what the package was prior to Miss Matthews opening it to which she responded she had ordered some protein powder to the unit," Ms Barnes said.

She said the staff told her "patients were allowed to have parcels delivered to the unit but they had to be opened in front of staff, at arm's length, and were usually opened in the communal area".

Ms Barnes said they told her Beth "managed to open and consume an unknown amount" of the substance which was in a "small plastic, screw top container the type tablets would normally be held in".

Her NWAS colleague Christopher Bauer said he understood the substance was in 'tablet/powder form' and that the container 'had foreign writing on it'.

Dr Susan Kirk, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Wythenshawe Hospital detailed the lifesaving efforts which included the giving of an antidote.

In her statement, she said in her opinion Beth suffered a cardiac arrest due to 'poisoning' from the substance.

Following a post-mortem, pathologist Dr Andrew Yates said he believed her cause of death was methemoglobinemia caused by 'poisoning' of the substance.

A specialist in hazardous materials at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was sent to the Fern Unit at The Priory on 21 March to test the remnant of the substance, but said 'no specialist clean up was required', the inquest was told.

The inquest, expected to conclude next week, continues.