Teresa Scheunert died of mixed effects of opiates: toxicologist
Nurse's death similar to those in Vancouver's downtown eastside, doctor tells inquest
A forensic toxicologist says Teresa Scheunert did not die from an overdose, but from the mixed side effects of the drugs she was taking.
A Coroner's inquest is being held in Whitehorse into Scheunert's death. The 47-year-old died in 2012 while being treated for back pain at the Watson Lake Hospital, where she worked as a nurse.
Dr. Walter Martz said Thursday that considering the drugs she was taking, Scheunert's death would have been no surprise had she been found in a back alley in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
The surprise, he told jurors, was that she died in a hospital where she was under constant supervision.
He called her cause of death "mixed intoxication." Scheunert was on at least two, perhaps three, different opiates when she died. Martz said it was the combined side effects of those drugs that caused respiratory failure.
Martz said nurses on duty when Scheunert died misinterpreted the situation when they noted her "snoring comfortably." He called it a "death rattle" or "last gasp" and told the jury he has witnessed the snoring phenomenon hundreds of times in Vancouver east end fatalities.
More experts are scheduled to testify as the inquest continues.