Exhausted nurse found dead in river after 12-hour A&E shift

A nurse who was so “exhausted” on an A&E shift that she told a mother to keep antibiotics in the freezer was found dead in her car in a river, an inquest heard.

Laurie Jones, 23, veered off the road and drowned on her way home from University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, after finishing a busy 12-hour shift at 1.40am on October 2 last year.

Just a few hours before her death, she had told the mother of a three-year-old girl to store antibiotics in the freezer, before quickly correcting herself to say fridge, and was tripping over her words through tiredness, an inquest in Newport heard.

Katie Bolan, the mother of the child, said in a written statement: “She seemed OK at the time but I noticed she repeated herself several times and she appeared exhausted.

“It was extremely busy and there didn’t seem to be enough staff to cope with the number of people.

“When saying where to store the antibiotics she said ‘in the freezer… no in the…you know the… in the fridge’.”

Ms Jones was reported missing at 9am by her family and police retraced her route home to Caerphilly from the hospital.

At lunchtime they found her VW Beetle submerged in the river, around 30m from where she appeared to have driven off the bendy B4251.

Her legs were protruding from the driver’s window and her seatbelt was undone, suggesting she had tried to escape from the vehicle.

A post-mortem examination said she had suffered drowning and a head injury, and a narrative verdict by the coroner echoed this conclusion.

Following the inquest, Ms Jones’s mother said: “She was just an everyday person going about her job. She had a lot more potential to give to life and it’s been taken away.”

Her father said she was “her normal happy self” leading up to her death and had been making plans for the future.

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