An A&E doctor hanged herself after she fought a 12-year battle with alopecia and depression, an inquest has heard.
Dr Alicia Pylypczuk, 29, was diagnosed with the hair loss condition when she was just 17 and had been prescribed medication for anxiety and depression.
Though the doctor appeared to be ‘resilient’, she was found dead in her bedroom at her apartment in Manchester on February 24 of this year, with tests showing she had traces of alcohol and anti-depressants in her system.
An inquest heard Dr Pylypczuk, originally from Bury studied medicine at Manchester University and described as ‘talented musically and academically’.
She was lead cellist in the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and toured across the country but had been struggling with her mental health.
Coroner Zak Golombeck told the Manchester hearing how the dosage of her prescription was doubled from January to February.
He said: ‘To assist the police investigation her mother Cheryl provided a statement saying she had been diagnosed with alopecia aged 17.
Dr Alicia Pylypczuk, 29, was diagnosed with the hair loss condition when she was just 17 and had been prescribed medication for anxiety and depression
An inquest heard Dr Pylypczuk, originally from Bury studied medicine at Manchester University and described as ‘talented musically and academically’
‘She described her as resilient and someone who was accomplished in her studies and played at the Royal Northern College of Music.
‘She said she was very talented academically, had attended the University of Manchester and was successful in her studies.
‘Her mother referred to a personal relationship which ended around Christmas 2018, which she believes affected her more than she realised at the time.
‘Alicia stayed with her mother on Friday 21 February, which was the last time her mother saw her. Her mother said ‘she said nothing that caused me great concern. I was not overly worried.
‘She had proved herself to be quite resilient in the past and had coped with all sorts of issues. On that day she was her usual warm and affectionate self.
‘She left on the Saturday and that was the last time her mother saw her.
‘They texted each other between that morning and Alicia’s death and in one message, which I think showed your close relationship, she sent her mother a picture of her tucked up in bed on what I think was the Sunday evening.’
In a statement, Christopher Sheehan, who became Dr Pylypczuk’s lodger, said he became close friend of hers.
He said he was aware she had signed off work for two weeks in January and that she had been given anti-depressants.
Mr Golombeck said: ‘He was at home in the early hours of Sunday 23 February when he saw her, and she told him she had been out that night to watch a boxing fight and she said she had been drinking and had taken drugs.
‘He said Alicia appeared to be drunk and was dancing around the room. He thought it was best to put her to bed which he did.
‘Police Coroners Officer Ian Taylor spoke to her friends after her death, and they described a person who had been struggling with her mental health but was full of life and clearly a very exceptional human being who was exceptionally talented.
‘She had reassured a friend in the evening of 23 February that she was OK, was laughing and joking with them and they talked about documentaries she had watched.’
Her mother Cheryl said in a tribute: ‘She was very vivacious, loving and compassionate’
Coroner Zak Golombeck told the Manchester hearing how the dosage of her prescription was doubled from January to February
In a statement read to the hearing, Dr Pylypczuk’s sister Anna said: ‘She was beautiful. She loved her friends and family so much, worked really hard to achieve everything she achieved and should have been very proud of herself. I miss her so much and we all miss her so much.’
Her mother Cheryl said in a tribute: ‘She was very vivacious, loving and compassionate. She loved working as an emergency medicine who truly loved what she did even though she was worried about starting work in intensive care.’
Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner said: ‘I was told Alicia developed alopecia at the age of around 17 and had suffered from mental health problems which were in some respects related to that diagnosis.
‘She sought help from her GP for her mental health and was prescribed anti-depressants, and she appears to have taken time off work in January 2020 because of it. She was very resilient and, as it has been made clear in her mother’s statement, she was very talented both academically and musically.
‘She was able to surmount her difficulties and challenges and had achieved her dream to become a doctor, which she worked extremely hard to achieve.
‘She had spent the night of Friday 21 February with her mother where there were no concerns about her mental health, and she gave her mother assurances about it. Alicia’s mother described her as being her warm and usual self during the time they spent together.
‘The next day she spent the evening watching a boxing fight and she consumed alcohol and illicit drugs that night. When she came home her flatmate put her to bed. Unfortunately and tragically, she was found hanging in her flat on 24 February.
Several friends were present on the video-link at the inquest but only her mother and sister spoke briefly at the hearing. Wellwishers raised £1,700 for research into the causes of alopecia
‘It is clear she did have difficulties throughout her life but was an extremely talented person, but what strikes me more than her talent is the love and affection she showed to her friends and family.
‘The loss of someone so young, who has worked so hard to become a doctor and help other people is nothing else but a loss to society, but that loss is eclipsed by the loss felt by her family and friends who loved her
‘The medical cause of her death was hanging. I conclude that she took her own life with the intention to do so.
‘To all those who have attended today I offer you my condolences and of course those must be extended to those who have not been able to attend today.’
Several friends were present on the video-link at the inquest but only her mother and sister spoke briefly at the hearing.
Colleague Dr Yasmin Woods said in a statement: ‘She had both a passion and a talent for music, playing the cello in several orchestras.
‘Through her dedication and hard work she achieved the position of lead Cellist in the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and toured across the country performing at the highest standard.
‘However, it was science and in particular medicine, that would become her true passion.
‘Alicia gained a place at Manchester medical school where she excelled both professionally and socially.
‘She remained in the Manchester area when she took her first postgraduate jobs working across the region in multiple different hospitals and departments before eventually deciding that she wanted to pursue a career in emergency medicine.
‘She was never one to back away from a challenge, fiercely hard working and a fantastic team player, and it became obvious that she was on the road to become an amazing emergency medicine physician.
‘But sadly she was never destined to complete her training and fulfill her true and full potential.
‘Her life was tragically cut short leaving so many unanswered questions and dreams left unrealised. However, even though her time with us was short, it was hugely meaningful.
‘She had a big impact on those around her. She had an unwavering sense of fairness and equality of which she was passionate and vocal about, as well as a fun loving nature and thirst for life.
‘Her actions, her beliefs, her morals, shaped those around her and made them better for having known her. She was uniquely fantastic and will be truly missed.’
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