A junior doctor found dead in the River Thames committed suicide over the pressure of work, an inquest has found. Twenty-four-year-old Sumayya Dukes had worked long night shifts at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, upon first approaching the A&E department suffering from stress and exhaustion. Dr. Dukes wrongly feared that her work had failed to live up to standards and had felt upset after a ward sister shouted at her following her asking for help, West London coroner's court was informed. Dr Dukes, who was described by her seniors as “high-achieving”, had been signed off work for three weeks due to depression. In January 2010, when Dr. Dukes was scheduled to return to the hospital, she was found dead on the shoreline of the River Thames with her hospital ID around her neck.
A post-mortem examination of Dr. Dukes’ body revealed that she had suffered from an overdose of anti-depressants and had drowned. Dr. Dukes’ mother told the inquest that her daughter had felt the pressure of working night shifts. She had confided in her mother that she felt that she lacked the knowledge required to work as a doctor.
The inquest was informed that Dr. Dukes had been prescribed antidepressants by her general physician and had been referred to a psychiatrist following a suicide attempt and hearing voices. Upon visiting her local mental health services, Dr. Dukes was discharged. Staff at the facility noted that she appeared to be well and had expressed her desires to return to her work at the hospital.
Duncan Lewis’ mental health law solicitors provide legal support to clients with mental health problems.