Job loss fears triggered tragedy of St Albans physiotherapist

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

A man who tried desperately to save his wife after she suffered a traumatic brain injury at their St Albans home has been praised for his actions at an inquest into her death.

Kathryn Dobson, of Sandpit Lane, died at Royal London Hospital on April 17 last year.

At Herts Coroners’ Court, the inquest was told that the 46 year old was a physiotherapist who was a “welcoming, caring person”.

Coroner Edward Thomas said that Kathryn had taken a break from work for several weeks because she was temporarily unable to concentrate.

The inquest was told that Kathryn feared she would lose her job, even though everyone had reassured her that was not the case as she was getting assistance from work, and was regarded as an excellent physiotherapist.


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There had been disruption at home due to a building project and Kathryn had received advice from her doctor with regard to panic attacks.

However, “she wasn’t happy about going to counselling”.

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Giving evidence, Det Con Stuart Alexander said that in a 999 call from Kathryn’s home on March 10 emergency services were told that she was bleeding profusely following an injury with a knife.

She was drifting in and out of consciousness.

Paramedics arrived and phoned for an air ambulance.

DC Alexander told the inquest, which was attended by eight people, that Kathryn’s distressed husband had tried to help his wife.

She was transferred to the Royal London Hospital, where a scan showed a penetration injury to part of her brain.

Kathryn died after being in intensive care for five weeks.

In his determination, Mr Thomas said the cause of death was a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage and intraventricular haemorrhage.

He said that she died due to a self-inflicted penetrative brain injury while the balance of her mind was disturbed.

Mr Thomas said that Kathryn’s husband had tried to do everything he could to save her, and that his actions were commendable.

He added: “The support you gave her was tremendous. She had a very caring, lovely family throughout. The sadness of her death is incalculable.”

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