Professionals knew nothing of nurse’s addiction

A PSYCHIATRIST, a psychologist and a junior GP who treated Katie Lee Howman after her initial overdose say they did not know of her opioid addiction until after her death.

Dr Sasha Mealing was working at a Kingsthorpe practice as a junior GP when Mrs Howman saw her about obtaining painkillers for a hip complaint.

Mrs Howman had medical imaging that confirmed her complaint.

Dr Mealing said Mrs Howman requested a script for five days supply of the painkiller Endone, because she had left her toiletries bag at her mother's house.

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This did raise alarm bells with Dr Mealing.

She said Mrs Howman was quite anxious about becoming dependent on the drugs and was keen to reduce use.

Dr Mealing said Mrs Howman did not mention she had previously overdosed on an opioid or was under supervision of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

She agreed there was nothing she could have done to stop Mrs Howman going to another GP to also obtain a script for opioids.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Ross Phillipson had treated Mrs Howman for general mental health purposes in the 18 months after her 2010 overdose.

Dr Phillipson said Mrs Howman was anxious about returning to work from maternity leave before her 2010 overdose.

He believed she had suffered a panic attack when she decided to inject herself with Fentanyl.

Clinical psychologist Dr Sharon Wilkinson treated Mrs Howman over three separate periods between 2010 and 2013.

Particular attention was paid to the third series of sessions in the months leading up to her 2013 fatal overdose.

Dr Wilkinson said Mrs Howman was anxious about a clinical error at work, the professional implications of that and what her husband's reaction would be.

But she said Mrs Howman completely denied misusing drugs.

Topics:  inquest toowoomba

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