From ‘Bedford Today’, 7 January 2012.
“I hope the legacy that she has left does not go unnoticed or forgotten,” is the message from the family of an ME sufferer who died after taking an overdose of sleeping tablets.
Bedford Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday that Maria Furniss, who had ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, died after she took an overdose of sleeping tablets.
Maria, 48, of Newbury Lane, Silsoe, was found by her husband Russell on the morning of June 15 this year when he went to say goodbye before leaving for work.
It was heard that Russell felt his wife had become dependent on the sleeping tablets, which left her feeling depressed.
Fighting back tears, he said at the inquest: “Her personality was not one to be depressed, she lived life to the full.
“I think ME is a seriously misunderstood illness. The NHS has very limited understanding about this illness and how crippling it can be. The family, the boys and I loved her with all our hearts, I hope the legacy she has left does not go unnoticed or forgotten.”
The court heard that on the evening of June 14 Maria had asked her husband to sleep in another room because she was in a lot of pain.
But the next day Russell found his wife dead with some notes at the bottom of the bed that she had written, indicating that she intended to take her own life.
Maria’s GP Dr Simon Wilden told the court: “In order to understand this one has to understand the illness, which is very interesting but very devastating.
“You have to take a very holistic approach that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a disease that affects both the body and the mind.”
He added: “It has been said that Mrs Furniss had very delusional traits, but it is my belief that she did not, but she did actually believe fully in the beliefs she had.”
Coroner David Morris recorded a verdict that Maria took her own life.
After the inquest Russell said ME is an illness that is very hard to understand, but he does not blame anyone.
He said: “I think the key here is that ME is an illness that is very poorly understood. The problem is that there are many issues that come from the disease, and these are not recognised by the NHS.
“It is not understood how crippling and lonely the disease can be for both the sufferer and their family, but I don’t blame anyone.
“She was a very kind and loving mother and wife. She was very, very determined, and she really wanted to help and support anyone who was going through the same plight as her.”