Wales

Professor Malcolm Woollard died after morphine overdose

Prof Malcolm Woollard Image copyright College of Paramedics
Image caption Prof Malcolm Woollard suffered with a number of physical conditions as well as depression and anxiety

A leading health professor died after becoming addicted to prescription drugs, an inquest has heard.

Prof Malcolm Woollard, 56, was found dead at his home in Llangattock, near Crickhowell, Powys, in July 2018.

Pontypridd Coroner's Court heard the former lecturer took 19 different medications every day after struggling with his physical and mental health.

A conclusion of drug-related death from use of prescription medication was recorded.

The hearing was also told Prof Woollard's wife of 30 years Julie left him in 2017 as she was "couldn't cope caring for him any more".

However, she continued to visit him regularly and last spoke to him on 8 July.

Concerns were raised about his welfare when a build-up of mail and parcels was seen at his home.

On 15 July, one neighbour let themselves in with a spare key and found the former College of Paramedics chairman in bed covered in blood and vomit.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Paramedics were called to the professor's home in Llangattock, Powys

An ambulance was called but he was pronounced dead.

GP Dr Mike Bisser said Prof Woollard suffered with a number of long-term health problems - including chronic back pain, a spinal condition and "significant mental health problems".

Dr Bisser said Prof Woollard's use of medication gave him cause for concern - but his patient "vehemently denied" taking too much when questioned about it.

A pathologist found elevated levels of morphine in the deceased's blood.

Assistant coroner Andrew Barkley said Prof Woollard was a "regular over user of different medication including morphine".

Image copyright Google
Image caption Pontypridd Coroner's Court heard Prof Woollard described as a "man who was significantly unwell and had been for a significant amount of time".

The inquest heard the renowned academic first worked for the Welsh Ambulance service in 1996 and later helped to open a research centre in Cardiff.

He went on to be a senior lecturer in Teeside before working in Coventry ahead of his retirement in 2012.

Following his death, the College of Paramedics described Prof Woollard as a "ground-breaker for the paramedic profession".

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