Nurse ‘terrified’ of passing on Covid to patients took her own life, inquest hears


A ‘kind and selfless’ nurse who became terrified of passing Covid on to her patients took her own life, an inquest heard.

Katie Reynolds was said to have become ‘completely overwhelmed’ in the pandemic and was waiting to have cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) but due to the outbreak treatment was suspended.

The 26 year-old, who was a registered nurse working in haematology at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, was off sick from work as her fears grew.

She had a series of consultations with her GP surgery in the weeks before she died expressing anxiety around Covid and passing it on to patients.

She described being ‘really uptight, not sleeping great, tense and on edge’ and feeling ‘daunted and frightened’ about returning to work.

She said she had had a chesty cough for the past five to six weeks and later a sore throat.

Derriford Hospital, Plymouth
Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, where Katie worked

A week before she was discovered hanged in a bedroom wardrobe at her home in Plymouth, Katie felt ‘terrified about Covid’ and was not coping well and was ‘very fearful and scared that she was going to pass it on’.

She was told to self isolate but was not expected to develop a serious illness, whether or not it was Covid-related.

The Plymouth inquest heard Katie’s family contacted police over concerns for her welfare, along with neighbours who had not seen her for three days.

Police broke into her home in Plymouth, one evening in April, 2020 where they found Katie, who was single and lived alone, dead.

Jo Thompson, from Livewell South West, which provides support and services for both physical and mental health in Plymouth, said Katie had felt overwhelmed and anxious about passing on Covid-19 to others.

She said Katie had had some thoughts about being better off dead which was scaring her because she did not want to die.

Katie had been doing well at previous CBT sessions before they were suspended.

She said Livewell South West has since reviewed its processes and has created a Covid secure building where face to face contacts can take place in a ‘safe and secure environment’.

The senior Plymouth coroner Ian Arrow recorded a conclusion that Katie arranged to end her own life.

He said she was ‘an intelligent young lady’ and her death must have been a ‘terrible shock’ to her family.

Paying tribute shortly after her death her mum Tracey called her a ‘kind, fun loving, selfless friend and nurse.’

She said: “She loved her job, she had support and was well liked. Not knowing is the hardest thing.

“But we will never know why – only Katie knows.

“Many people are so good at putting up a front, like Katie was, laughing and singing at the ward, living independently, even though she had struggled with social anxiety and feeling she didn’t belong.”

The Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, email or head to the website to find your nearest branch. You matter.

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