Walthamstow woman accidentally overdosed on terminally ill husband’s pain medication

A mum who died in September accidentally overdosed on her husband’s pain medication, an inquest has found.

Liliana Baraban, 46, was found dead in her Walthamstow home on the morning of September 9 last year by her husband Vali and is thought to have died during the night.

On January 6, Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard evidence suggesting she took her husband’s medication without his knowledge before bed to treat her severe stomach pain.

The court heard evidence from a police officer called to the Barabans’ home in Grove Road on September 9, who recounted a conversation with Liliana’s brother-in-law Dan.

His evidence read: “Dan had previously known Liliana to take her husband’s pain medication as she was suffering from abdominal pain.

“Liliana had had lots of tests but they had all been inconclusive.

“Liliana and Vali’s daughter told her uncle Dan that she had seen her mother take a swig of a brown bottle with a blue stripe on the label before bed at approximately 10pm.”

The only brown bottle police were able to find was Vali’s oxycodone, prescribed for his terminal illness. His daughter said no one else was in the room when this took place.

A post-mortem performed by Dr Rowena Smith found a “very high level” of oxycodone in Liliana’s system and evidence of gastritis, likely to have caused her stomach pain.

Coroner Ms Persaud concluded the inquest: “Mrs Baraban had been suffering from recurring pain. She had been seen by her daughter to take some medication prescribed to her father.

“There is no evidence that she had any mental health difficulties or that she had intended to end her life.

“I consider it most likely that she took the medication with the intention of addressing the abdominal pain she was suffering from.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners has previously warned that taking another person’s prescribed medication, even for legitimate reasons, is “inherently dangerous”.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2010, the British GP leader Professor Steve Field said taking another person’s prescription drugs is “inherently dangerous”, even if for legitimate reasons.

He said: “Patients quite often say they have borrowed painkillers from friends, either to save money, or because they want to try something stronger, or because they don’t want to bother their GP or chemist. This is potentially harmful.

“Neither the patient who was first prescribed the medication nor the person now taking them will understand the drug or its side effects, or its possible interaction with other drugs you may be taking.”


Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter