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Hospital anaesthetist died in King's Lynn hotel, inquest told

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A court has heard how an anaesthetist who worked at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital was found dead at a town hotel.

An inquest into the death of Dr James Gutsell was today adjourned to enable further inquiries to be made of professionals who had looked at his case.

The move came after questions were raised about the responses made when concerns for his welfare shortly before his death.

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No Caption ABCDE. (35922704)

Dr Gutsell, who was 31 and a trainee anaesthetist at the QEH, died on December 30 last year.

The court heard police had attended the Travelodge hotel in Kellard Place shortly after noon that day after they were alerted to concerns for his safety.

An email had been sent to family members and work colleagues a few minutes earlier stating he was at the hotel.

Norfolk Coroner's Court
Norfolk Coroner's Court

Dr Gutsell was found inside a bedroom after an emergency key was used to gain entry. Despite the efforts of both officers and paramedics to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post-mortem examination concluded the likely cause of death was respiratory depression due to anaesthetic drug toxicity. A note and other items were recovered from the scene.

Although Dr Gutsell had a history of mental health problems, the court was told that his mood had deteriorated markedly in the days immediately before his death.

Concerns were raised with both his GP and a mental health crisis team during the day before his death.

However, a member of that team told Dr Gutsell's fiancee that he did not require an urgent visit the night before his death and he was not deemed to be at "imminent risk".

The court was also told that contradictory information was presented to one professional who was assigned his case about whether he intended to harm himself or not.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake adjourned the inquest to a later date, which has yet to be fixed.

* Do not suffer alone, help is out there. If you need help or support with your mental health, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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