A man who was found dead in bushes outside the Royal Hobart Hospital may have accidentally overdosed on prescription medication, a coronial investigation has found.
- Matthew Lyons’ body was found in bushes outside the Royal Hobart Hospital almost two years ago
- Coroner Simon Cooper said he could not rule out death by accidental overdose
- In the days leading up to his death, Mr Lyons was twice denied admission to the RHH psychiatric ward
The body of Matthew Lyons, 47, was found just metres away from the ambulance on-ramp at the Royal Hobart Hospital on October 23, 2018.
Coroner Simon Cooper determined Mr Lyons died of ingesting a fatal cocktail of the prescription drugs lorazepam, quetiapine, olanzapine and diazepam.
He also said Mr Lyons had a long history of mental health issues, and that his mental state in the lead-up to his death had worsened.
Mr Cooper said Mr Lyons had expressed suicidal ideation to health professionals on at least six occasions but he stopped short of finding Mr Lyons had taken his own life.
“I am not satisfied on the evidence to the requisite legal standard that the actions which caused Mr Lyons’ death, namely the ingestion by him of prescription medication, was undertaken by him voluntarily and with the express intention of ending his own life,” Mr Cooper said.
“There is nothing in the nature of a suicide note that was located in the extensive police investigation.
“More importantly though, Mr Lyons was found not far from the entrance to the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Royal Hobart Hospital, a place where he regularly sought treatment,” he said.
“I cannot exclude, on the evidence, that his death was the result of an accidental overdose of prescription medication.”
Before his death, Mr Lyons had been an inpatient at the Royal Hobart Hospital’s Psychiatric Medicine Department.
In the days leading up to his death, Mr Lyons had presented again to the Royal Hobart Hospital’s emergency department but was twice denied admission to the psychiatric department.
On October 15, he sought admission to the Southern District Adult Community Mental Health Service but was unable to secure a bed.
It is understood he died sometime within the next three days.
After Mr Lyons’ death, his family said Mr Lyons was a loved son and brother who had moved to Tasmania “for a more peaceful life”.
Mr Lyons lived in Campbell Street in a complex of 50 units managed by the residents and the Salvation Army.
He was a valued member of that community and took on the role of cooking meals for fellow residents once a week.
Mr Cooper made no recommendations as part of his findings. He offered his condolences to Mr Lyons family.