Rohde lawyer raises 'link' between Urbanol, Stilnox and suicide

2017-11-15 15:03
Susan Rohde. (Image via Facebook)

Susan Rohde. (Image via Facebook)

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Cape Town - Susan Rohde's doctor prescribed Urbanol and Stilnox to her, without taking into account the drugs' potential links to suicide, her murder-accused husband Jason's defence lawyer claimed in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

"I can give you hundreds of scientific articles, peer reviewed, confirmed, known associations between benzodiazepine and an increased risk of suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts," contended advocate Graham van der Spuy, during Susan's general practitioner's cross examination. 

Dr Lize-Maré Steenkamp had first started seeing Susan in 2014 for Botox - a treatment that smoothes out wrinkles.

She gave her regular Botox injections for her forehead and eyes. She also conducted a gynaecological exam on the mother of three at a later stage.

It was when she saw Susan on May 13, 2016, that she said she was battling to sleep and had been taking sleeping tablets given to her by a friend but they made her feel "puffy and hungover".

She was also using an over the counter medication Somnil which had not worked. Susan had told her she had gone five days without sleep.

READ: Susan Rohde traumatised, but not suicidal says couple's counsellor

Steenkamp prescribed Stilnox, which is a short acting benzodiazepine, and is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.

At another consultation on June 24, 2016, she said she was struggling with marital discord and conflict, and had heartburn. She was self-medicating with Rescue Remedy and Biral.

Steenkamp prescribed the Urbanol, also a benzodiazepine, as a short-term medication for her.

Last appointment

Her last appointment with Susan was on July 15 for a Botox top up.

"She asked me to make her pretty," said Steenkamp, who does not want to be photographed.

Asked why she had not called her previous doctor for more medical history, or referred her to a psychiatrist, Steenkamp said that Susan did not want to discuss the issue further, and said she was already going for therapy.

She was taken to task for not visibly noting that she had warned Susan of the reportedly suicidal side effects of Urbanol and Stilnox, according to her doctor's notes. 

The final note she wrote was after she had heard that Susan had died.

"Pasient het glo self-moord gepleeg - Ai toggie. [Patient is believed to have committed suicide - very sad]."

Susan Rohde was found dead in the bathroom of the suite her and her husband Jason had shared at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.

At first it was thought she had committed suicide by hanging, but later her husband was charged with murder. 

The court has already heard that Susan discovered in February 2016 that her husband was having an affair with Cape Town estate agent Jolene Alterskye and their private WhatsApp messages indicated that the couple was on a rollercoaster of anger and calm.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    jason rohde  |  susan rohde  |  cape town  |  crime

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