Paula Bishop died of alcohol poisoning on holiday in the Canary Islands
A pharmacy worker was found dead on the first day of her holiday after accidentally drinking too much wine and beer, an inquest heard.
The amount of alcohol consumed by Paula Bishop, 37, was described as ‘fatally toxic’ – however her husband said she did not appear to be drunk or unsteady.
Mrs Bishop and husband Stuart, of Ince, near Wigan, Greater Manchester, were enjoying the first day of their holiday in the Canary Islands on the day of her death.
The pair went on a pub crawl in Fuerteventua to familiarise themselves with the area, in October 2017.
However, the inquest into her death at Bolton Coroners Court on Wednesday, heard she may have misjudged her alcohol intake.
During the day Mrs Bishop drank a few small beers, two glasses of wine and four Irish coffees – the equivalent of around 15 units of alcohol. This made her around eight-times over the drink driving limit in Spain.
Her husband of 11 years Stuart said he had no recollection of his wife being excessively drunk or unsteady on her feet.
At an inquest a coroner ruled Mrs Bishop was a victim of alcohol related death but said she and her husband may not have appreciated how much alcohol they had taken during the day.
Paula Bishop was on holiday with husband Stuart when she died from drinking alcohol. A coroner heard she consumed a ‘fatally toxic’ amount from just beers, wine and Irish coffees
The Bolton hearing was told Mrs Bishop worked hard as a senior assistant technical officer in the pharmacy department at the Royal Albert Edward infirmary in Wigan and she and her husband ‘lived for their holidays.’
Just a month after returning from a trip to Cuba with friends the couple jetted off to Spain on October 20 last year. Mrs Bishop was said to be ‘entirely well’ as they were dropped off at the airport for their early morning flight by Mr Bishop’s son Josh.
The pair arrived at 11.15am and subsequently booked into the Aparthotel Caleta Gardens and went to the hotel bar.
In a statement Mr Bishop said: ‘For the remainder of the day, afternoon and evening she was fine, she had a sleep in the afternoon, had something to eat at tea time and was sending pictures to family on her phone and was in touch with loved ones.
‘This was a perfect start to what we anticipated would be perfect holiday. She had a few small beers, two small glasses of wine, and three or four Irish coffees – between 10-15 units.
‘We went to bed between 10 and 11 and crashed out. I was tired and hadn’t had a sleep in the day time. My last memory of Paula was going back to the room – nothing out of the ordinary.
‘She had poured a couple of glasses of orange juice which is something she would usually do if she was preparing to go to bed. But I woke up sometime after midnight and found Paula lying on the floor propped up against a chest of drawers. I touched her belly and it was cold and then tried to find a pulse. Her legs had changed colour.
‘I ran down to the reception area straight away and brought up a night time security who then alerted paramedics.
‘When I first looked at her, I thought straight away that she had passed away and my automatic reaction was to get help. I shook her and tried to speak to her but got nothing. Paramedics attended and tried resuscitation but she could not be saved.’
‘Her death came as an enormous shock – she was a wonderful person who was full of life and will be greatly missed by her friends and family.’
Paula and her husband were said to ‘live for their holidays’ before tragedy struck in October, last year
Paula Bishop was found slumped on the floor by her husband in their hotel room. Paramedics attempted to save her but could not
What is the drink-drive limit in Spain compared with Britain?
Spain: The rules in Spain regarding drink driving are very strict.
A person must not get behind the wheel with more than 50 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood.
New drivers (with less than two years’ experience) cannot exceed 30mg.
The adult driver limit is equivalent to 2.5 units for men and 2 units for women.
A half pint of beer is one unit. A full pint of premium beer can be up to 2.8 units.
UK: In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the legal alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood in your body.
This is the equivalent of four units for a man and three for a woman.
In the UK the limit is applied equally to drivers of all ages.
A 175ml glass of wine is usually 2.3 units.
A Spanish toxicologist said tests showed Mrs Bishop had an alcohol count of 4 grams per litre of blood in her system – around eight times the country’s drink driving limit. Spain allows drivers up to 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
Dr Naveen Sharma a consultant histopathologist at Whiston hospital in Liverpool said the levels of alcohol in Mrs Bishop’s system were ‘fatally toxic’ and concluded her cause of death was heart failure due to ‘acute alcohol toxicity’.
Recording a verdict of alcohol-related death coroner Tim Brennand said: ‘Death has arisen because of a single acute overdose of alcohol on a single day on holiday rather than over a long period of time – and I make clear there is no history of alcohol abuse.
‘Paula travelled to Fuerteventura with her husband and on that day she consumed a large variety of alcohol. She retired to bed and some time after midnight she was discovered collapsed on the apartment floor.
‘This was a much anticipated holiday for this very hard-working individual and it was not surprising that she took advantage and enjoyed herself on the first day of her holiday.
Paula Bishop and husband Stuart from Wigan had spent the day drinking in bars in the Canary Islands on the day she died
Paula Bishop, an NHS pharmacy worker, was described as ‘a wonderful person and a loving wife who was full of life’
‘The real tragedy here is that it may well have been that both she and perhaps her husband and partner in life did not appreciate the amount of alcohol taken. This is the tragedy of this particular case.
‘Mr Bishop, I cannot bring myself to imagine the enormity of your loss and the shock and panic that you went through. Words cannot do justice.’
In a statement after the hearing Mrs Bishop’s family said: ‘The family are grateful that the coroner recognises the tragic circumstances of this case and the fact it was not a problem of drinking.
‘What should have been the first day of a well deserved holiday turned into a nightmare that no one would wish to imagine. Paula was a wonderful person and a loving wife who was full of life.
‘We hope that the dangers of drinking abroad, where measures are not as controlled, would be considered by other people to avoid similar tragedies like ours.’