AN 18-YEAR-OLD girl died after taking an accidental overdose of migraine medication, a coroner has ruled yesterday.
Megan Biddle, a passionate music fan and popular pupil at Lord Williams’s School, Thame, died after swallowing an unknown quantity of the beta-blocker propranolol.
Her parents and brother, who attended yesterday morning’s hearing, said they were still not sure exactly how she ended up taking too many pills on March 1.
But one thing that they are certain about – and Oxfordshire’s assistant coroner Nicholas Graham agreed – is that she had no intention of taking her own life.
Family and friends of Megan, who attended up to five music concerts a month, are now determined to keep her irrepressible spirit alive.
Her mum Alison Biddle, with whom she lived in Clarendon Drive, Thame, along with dad Iain and brother Jack, said yesterday: “Megan was a unique and individual girl.
“She was an energetic and lively teenager with everything to live for and her whole life ahead of her.
“She never felt the need to follow the crowd, she was confident and happy with who she was, never wearing makeup, living in checked shirts, black jeans and always a hat on her head.”
Megan had suffered from acute migraines from the age of 11.
Mrs Biddle said: “They were crippling – they occurred every week and when she had one, all she could do was sleep.”
In 2010, at the age of 14, a consultant at Banbury’s Horton General Hospital prescribed Megan pizotifen and Zomig, but she suffered unpleasant side-effects, so was switched on to propranolol.
Mrs Biddle added: “Megan didn’t like taking medication but accepted she needed to, to be able to get an education.”
When Megan started sixth form, she decided she wanted to get off the medication and, with her doctor’s approval, weaned herself off it.
She remained migraine-free for more than a year, but in late 2014, Megan began to suffer strange symptoms, when she would wake up and, in her words, come over “all funny”, the inquest heard.
Her vision would be affected, and she would need to go back to bed and sleep it off until the next day – just as if she were having a migraine, but with no headache.
Megan Biddle in Buzz Lightyear fancy dress
Her GP could find no explanation for the strange occurrence, but said without headaches the episodes were not migraines.
In February, Megan was working at Burger King in Thame, along with her brother Jack, in between fundraising for several local community groups and going to gigs.
On Saturday, February 28, they both came home from shifts and Jack said his sister seemed completely normal.
But in his statement which was read to the court yesterday, Jack said the following morning: “She came into my room and said ‘Jack I need to get an ambulance, I’ve taken tablets and I don’t know why I did it’.”
According to the NHS, about one in 10,000 people who take propranolol can experience confusion and memory loss, and this is what Megan’s family think happened to her, causing her to forget how many pills she had taken or why.
At Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, her condition gradually improved throughout the day. She regained consciousness and was speaking to her family in the afternoon.
But she worsened again in the evening, and suffered a seizure which doctors could not treat. She died in the early hours of Monday.
Mrs Biddle added: “Megan was an energetic and lively teenager with everything to live for and her whole life ahead of her.
“She was a fun-loving, kind and thoughtful young lady.”
Jack added: “If you didn’t like Bid, you didn’t know her.”
Cleaning Megan’s room in the week after she died, Megan’s family discovered a poem, entitled Prove Them Wrong, which they believe she must have written.
For her funeral, they handed out 1,000 copies of the poem printed on little cards. On the reverse is printed “keep calm and wear a hat”, with a picture of Megan’s trademark woolly hat.
People like family friend Peter Butt now keep the cards with them, in their pocket or wallet, keeping her spirit alive.
He said: “So many people say they just take them out from time to time and read them.”
Friends at Lord Williams’s School have also raised hundreds of pounds towards a permanent memorial for her, which they are planning now.
We see what we want
Live life to express not impress
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful
Tomorrow is a new day
Finish each day and be done with it
Breathe before you speak
Happiness is contagious
Take the money and run
Do it now
Choose being kind over being right
Life is too short to be little
Never lose your soul