An NHS pharmacy worker died of alcohol poisoning after she accidentally drank too much wine and beer during the first day of her holiday in the Canary Islands, an inquest heard.
Paula Bishop, 37, is feared to have misjudged the measures she was given by bartenders as she went on a pub crawl in Fuerteventura with her husband Stuart.
Mrs Bishop was found dead in her hotel room in the resort of Antigua later that night with blood tests showing she would have been the equivalent of eight times the Spanish drink driving limit.
Mr Bishop, her husband of 11 years, told how she had had a ‘few small beers’, two small glasses of wine and up to four Irish coffees before they went to bed the evening before her death.
He said he had no recollection of his wife being excessively drunk or unsteady on her feet.
At an inquest a coroner ruled Mrs Bishop, of Ince, near Wigan, Greater Manchester, was a victim of alcohol related death but said she and her husband may not have appreciated how much alcohol they had taken during the day.
The Bolton hearing was told Mrs Bishop worked hard as a senior assistant technical officer in the pharmacy department at the Royal Albert Edward infirmary in Wigan and she and her husband "lived for their holidays".
Just a month after returning from a trip to Cuba with friends the couple jetted off to Spain on October 20 last year. Mrs Bishop was said to be "entirely well" as they were dropped off at the airport for their early morning flight by Mr Bishop’s son Josh.
The pair arrived at 11.15am and subsequently booked into the Aparthotel Caleta Gardens and went to the hotel bar. The hearing was told the Bishops then went to a "number of establishments to have a drink” as they were "familiarising themselves with the area".
In a statement Mr Bishop said: "For the remainder of the day, afternoon and evening she was fine, she had a sleep in the afternoon, had something to eat at tea time and was sending pictures to family on her phone and was in touch with loved ones.
"This was a perfect start to what we anticipated would be perfect holiday. She had a few small beers, two small glasses of wine, and three or four Irish coffees – between 10-15 units.
"We went to bed between 10 and 11 and crashed out. I was tired and hadn’t had a sleep in the day time. My last memory of Paula was going back to the room – nothing out of the ordinary.
"She had poured a couple of glasses of orange juice which is something she would usually do if she was preparing to go to bed. But I woke up sometime after midnight and found Paula lying on the floor propped up against a chest of drawers. I touched her belly and it was cold and then tried to find a pulse. Her legs had changed colour.
"I ran down to the reception area straight away and brought up a night time security who then alerted paramedics When I first looked at her, I thought straight away that she had passed away and my automatic reaction was to get help. I shook her and tried to speak to her but got nothing. Paramedics attended and tried resuscitation but she could not be saved."
"Her death came as an enormous shock – she was a wonderful person who was full of life and will be greatly missed by her friends and family."
A Spanish toxicologist said tests showed Mrs Bishop had an alcohol count of four grams per litre of blood in her system – around eight times the country’s drink driving limit. Spain allows drivers up to 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
Dr Naveen Sharma a consultant histopathologist at Whiston hospital in Liverpool said the levels of alcohol in Mrs Bishop’s system were "fatally toxic" and concluded her cause of death was heart failure due to "acute alcohol toxicity".
Recording a verdict of alcohol related death coroner Tim Brennand said: "Death has arisen because of a single acute overdose of alcohol on a single day on holiday rather than over a long period of time – and I make clear there is no history of alcohol abuse.
"Paula travelled to Fuerteventura with her husband and on that day she consumed a large variety of alcohol. She retired to bed and some time after midnight she was discovered collapsed on the apartment floor.
"This was a much anticipated holiday for this very hard working individual and it was not surprising that she took advantage and enjoyed herself on the first day of her holiday.
"The real tragedy here is that it may well have been that both she and perhaps her husband and partner in life did not appreciate the amount of alcohol taken. This is the tragedy of this particular case.
"Mr Bishop, I cannot bring myself to imagine the enormity of your loss and the shock and panic that you went through. Words cannot do justice."
In a statement after the hearing Mrs Bishop’s family said: "The family are grateful that the coroner recognises the tragic circumstances of this case and the fact it was not a problem of drinking.
"What should have been the first day of a well deserved holiday turned into a nightmare that no one would wish to imagine. Paula was a wonderful person and a loving wife who was full of life.
"We hope that the dangers of drinking abroad, where measures are not as controlled, would be considered by other people to avoid similar tragedies like ours."
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