‘Bubbly and friendly’ St Leonards-on-Sea woman died in Eastbourne hospital

A 32-year-old woman from St Leonards-on-Sea passed away at Eastbourne DGH in August following a cardiac arrest, an inquest heard.

Carol Dunne, a painter and decorator, suffered from a cardiac arrest at her home in Carisbrooke Road on August 15 with cocaine in her system, the Eastbourne inquest was told.

She passed away on August 26.

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A GP report from Dr Elissa Fynes told the inquest Miss Dunne had a history of anxiety and depression, but was not in contact with the community support team.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155043008

Her mother Helen Dunne, said, “We were close, she was bubbly and friendly.”

Miss Dunne’s partner said on August 15 she collapsed and had a seizure which was when the ambulance was called.

She was taken into the Conquest Hospital in Hastings where it was revealed she had suffered 20 minutes of downtime during the cardiac arrest – this is the time when oxygen levels getting to the brain are compromised.

The inquest heard Miss Dunne was transferred to the DGH on August 19 and at that point she was ‘extremely unwell’, according to Dr Katherine Murray.

Toxicology reports revealed Miss Dunne had cocaine in her system and although her heart function was improving, she had suffered a hypoxic brain injury – a restricted flow of oxygen causes brain damage, Dr Rhian Edwards told the inquest.

Dr Edwards said, “There was very severe damage to the brain and no chance of good neurological recovery, she never regained consciousness.”

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze said, “There was enough downtime for her to suffer irretrievable brain damage.

“This wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t taken cocaine.”

Mr Craze ruled Miss Dunne died of hypoxic brain injury caused by a cardiac arrest which was triggered by cocaine use.

He said her death was due to non-dependent drug use.