Autism: Zoe Zaremba 'driven to her death' by wrong diagnosis – BBC


A woman with autism was "driven to her death" after being wrongly diagnosed with a personality disorder, an inquest has heard.
Zoe Zaremba, 25, was found dead near her home in Aiskew, North Yorkshire, following an overdose in June 2020.
Her mother, Jean, told the hearing her daughter's autism had not been properly understood and she "got no support".
She had been in the care of the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust which said training had since improved.
Mrs Zaremba told the hearing: "Zoe said she should not have to die to get away from an incorrect diagnosis of personality disorder.
"I will never recover from losing Zoe. It was a waste of a wonderful life."
The inquest in Northallerton heard Zoe struggled socially and was diagnosed with autism aged 16 but her problems worsened.
Over a four-year period from 2016 she was taken to hospital 37 times, mostly after having taken an overdose and was sectioned in 2019.
The assistant coroner, John Broadbridge, suggested there appeared to be a cycle of self-harm, admission to hospital followed by discharge but with no care plan.
Mrs Zaremba earlier told the coroner: "Initially she was calling for help but from January 2020 I could only see it ending one way.
"She cried out for help but she did not receive it. She had lost all hope."
The inquest was told that lack of trust meant Zoe did not always cooperate with mental health teams.
On the night of 13 June, she told her mother she loved her and disappeared. Her body was found after a week-long search.
A post-mortem examination found she had taken a toxic substance.
Dr Wolfgang Kuster, a consultant psychiatrist at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust, said he had developed some trust with Zoe but "we could not extend this to any other professionals".
He agreed that autism contributed to her death.
She had been discharged from hospital prior to taking the overdose but Dr Kuster conceded an assessment on the risk of self-harm was lacking.
He had agreed to a telephone conversation with her but had not kept it.
He said: "Since Zoe passed away, her story has been part of discussions about how we can improve services for patients with autism."
The inquest is due to last four days.
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