Worthing massage parlour worker killed by internet slimming pills

Tranquility Chinese medicine and massage parlour in Heene Road, Worthing, pictured centre. Picture: Google Maps
Tranquility Chinese medicine and massage parlour in Heene Road, Worthing, pictured centre. Picture: Google Maps

A senior coroner has warned of the dangers of buying unprescribed medicine online after a massage parlour worker died from taking slimming pills.

Shouhong Du, 48, died in Worthing Hospital on March 31 after 16 days of being in a coma. At her inquest, held at Crawley Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, July 10, Penelope Schofield, senior coroner for West Sussex, concluded that she died by misadventure.

She warned the public of the dangers of buying unregulated medicine online: “I would like to offer the family of Shouhong Du our sincere condolences for the sad loss of her in these circumstances.

“I hope that the details of her death can be shared to prevent others from buying tablets over the internet when they are not sure of the exact contents.”

Mrs Du, a health assistant, left behind life with her husband in China to work at the Tranquility Chinese medicine and massage parlour in Heene Road, Worthing.

On March 15, she collapsed in the back of the parlour and was found unresponsive.

The emergency services were called, and she was taken to Worthing Hospital.

When she was admitted, hospital staff found slimming pills in her purse that she had bought over the internet from her home country.

Tests at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital found the pills contained two types of diuretic, which help expel water from the body, and a diet suppresant. The quantity in each tablet was unknown.

The court heard how Mrs Du’s family knew she wanted to lose weight and that prolonged self-medicating had severely damaged her body, leading to multiple organ failure.

A post-mortem held at Worthing Hospital on April 9 found Mrs Du died of oxygen starvation to the brain, multi-drug toxicity and self-medication.

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