A nurse committed suicide after she was wrongly diagnosed with a painful and progressive brain disorder, an inquest heard yesterday.

A nurse committed suicide after she was wrongly diagnosed with a painful and progressive brain disorder, an inquest heard yesterday.

Sally Moth, 31, fell into a severe depression after she was told that the disease would cause increasing pain for the rest of her life.

Seven months after the diagnosis, which was made by a specialist doctor abroad, Miss Moth was found hanging from the loft hatch of her home in Weymouth, Dorset. Yesterday, a coroner revealed that Miss Moth, who had a four-month-old son, had been mistakenly diagnosed with the degenerative disorder because medical examinations showed no indication of the illness.

The inquest heard how Miss Moth had first sought medical help two years ago because of unexplained back pains.

She saw a series of chiropractors before travelling to a clinic in Oslo in October last year in order to visit a recommended practitioner.

It was Professor Carrick Martin, a Canadian doctor at the clinic, who informed Miss Moth that she was suffering from a progressive cerebella condition for which there was no effective treatment, the inquest heard.

Miss Moth later told friends and family that the condition would gradually worsen and the pain would increase as the disease took hold of her brain.

Her father David Moth told West Dorset Coroner's Court yesterday how he had become increasingly concerned about the validity of the diagnosis and the effect it was having on his daughter.

"I was very concerned about the advice she was getting from various chiropractors," he said. "She went to Oslo and she was told that she had a progressive condition, which was never substantiated by any other expert who examined her."

While Miss Moth had a history of suffering from depression, the diagnosis had a marked effect on her mental health and made her become increasingly suicidal, according to her father.

"In Easter this year, the depression came back with a vengeance, very suddenly and very viciously," he said.

Shortly after the birth of her son, she sought advice from her general practitioner, Stephen Bick, in February. He told her that he did not believe the diagnosis to be correct after conducting brain scans.

However, his comments did little to convince Miss Moth that she would not face a lifetime of illness, according to a written statement submitted to the hearing by Dr Bick.

"I did not think she had a progressive disease, but the advice she was given only served to weaken her confidence in the medical profession and deepen her doom and gloom," he told the inquest.

She was subsequently admitted for a short period of time to the Linden Unit in Dorset for treatment for her depression.

It was on 29 May this year, seven months after she was diagnosed with the debilitating disease and the day after she was released from the unit, that she was discovered hanging from the loft hatch of her home.

The hearing heard how doctors in the UK and a postmortem examination had revealed that there was no evidence of any neurological disorder.

Michael Johnston, the coroner, told the hearing that the diagnosis was "extremely ill-advised" in the light of her fragility. Recording a verdict of suicide, he said: "I do think that to be told that you have a severe progressive brain condition might be a naturally alarming thing.

"It's worrying that there was no evidence of this at the postmortem. I do think that it was something that was extremely ill-advised to say. To what extent it contributed to her death I do not know. At the end, she was a very fragile person."

Comments