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Patient tragedy hearing.

A mental health patient probably died because of a "very unusual" side effect of one of his drugs, an inquest heard.

Pathologist Dr Peter Cooper said he thought Neil Park had suffered a heart attack because of a small dose of anti-psychotic agent Risperidone.

The St Luke's Hospital patient, from Richmond, who was diagnoed with schizophrenia aged 16, was found collapsed with no pulse on May 20, 2000.

Mr Park had suffered a heart attack which caused brain damage, the inquest heard. He died three days later in Middlesbrough General Hospital after never regaining consciousness.

In the days before his death, the 30-year-old had been given drugs including Droperidol, which is now banned.

But Dr Cooper said he believed it was Risperidone which caused the attack.

He told Teesside Coroner's Court yesterday he had come to that conclusion because it was the first time Mr Park had been given the drug.

He said: "Droperidol he has had in the past without ill effect. Elsewhere, Risperidone has been recorded as causing sudden death due to cardiac arrest."

Dr Cooper said the evidence appeared to rule out strangulation or a foreign body causing a blockage in Mr Park's airway.

He said the drug doses Mr Park had been given were well within the prescribed limits.

"I've seen people who I believe had died from Risperidone before from normal, therapeutic doses. It's a very unusual side effect of the drug," he said.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 22, 2003
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