Mental health patient died after swallowing pennies and magnets
PENNIES and magnets tore a man's bowels after he ate them, leading to his death.
An inquest heard that doctors believed the metal objects ingested by Richard Smith had stuck sections of his insides together, leading to perforations in the lining.
Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court heard that, although the 31-year-old had suffered from schizophrenia for nearly a decade, the incident was "out of character" for him.
Dr Vineet Singh, consultant psychiatrist at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said Mr Smith had "treatment resistant schizophrenia".
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He said: "I first met Mr Smith in 2007 and we took over his care at that time.
"He was able to get on with his life using a particular medication."
Dr Singh said Mr Smith volunteered for the British Heart Foundation and, though he had confessed to occasional suicidal thoughts, they were "not pervasive".
He said Mr Smith had a history of hospital admissions and there were instances where he had inserted metal objects into his ear.
He added: "I did not see these features myself and I was not aware he had any history of ingesting any metal objects."
At the time of his death, Mr Smith had been living at Trevayler, a residential home for mental health patients, in Burton Road, Derby.
Oliver Godfrey, deputy manager at the home, said about ten days before his death in October 2011, Mr Smith had complained of severe stomach cramps.
On September 23, he said he heard Mr Smith shouting in the care home and found him on his knees with stomach pains. He called an ambulance and Mr Smith was taken to Royal Derby Hospital. He was operated on by doctors, who found the objects in his stomach.
But his condition deteriorated and he died on October 6. The cause of death was given as bronchial pneumonia caused by small bowel perforation. A secondary cause was inflammation of the heart muscle.
Mr Godfrey said: "He did not say he had ingested the coins or the magnets."
Coroner Dr Robert Hunter recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. He said he could not say whether Mr Smith had been responding to voices in his head when he swallowed the magnets.
He said: "It was inconsistent with his normal behaviour when he was well. Staff at Trevayler and Mr Smith's family would not have foreseen he might do this.
"Why he chose to ingest these magnets and coins we will never know."