Family critical of daughter's anorexia treatment

Essex County Standard: Family critical of daughter's anorexia treatment Family critical of daughter's anorexia treatment

THE family of a Colchester student who died from anorexia while at university have criticised the care she received.

Averil Hart’s story is one of 14 released by the Patients’ Association, which publishes an annual dossier of poor care.

Averil, 19, started suffering with the disorder in the lead up to her A-levels, at Colchester Royal Grammar School, and was admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

She spent ten months there and regained much of her weight.

She was discharged in August last year and went to study English and creative writing at East Anglia University in Norwich.

She was deemed at high risk of relapsing and her ongoing care was passed to the primary care team at the university’s medical service and the Norfolk Community Eating Disorder Service.

When she arrived at university, Averil had to wait three weeks before she received any care and her health had started to deteriorate.

The care co-ordinator assigned to her was a junior trainee with no practical experience of her illness.

In her first ten weeks at university, Averil was only weighed three times and staff failed to undertake proper physical examinations or blood tests.

Her parents claim the two organisations failed to communicate to check her care plan was being implemented.

During the next five weeks Averil lost more weight and her health further deteriorated.

Her dad and sister visited her in Norwich in November last year and were concerned by her condition.

They contacted Addenbrooke’s Hospital and were assured their concern was being looked into.

However, nothing was done.

Later that month, Averil was found unconscious on the floor of the kitchen at her accommodation and was taken to Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Her dad stayed with her to help with care because the family did not feel staffing at the hospital was adequate.

Later that evening Averil slipped into a coma and never recovered.

In a statement, her family said: “She was the cheeky, lovable, fun girl at the front of family and school photos, always with a smile and a song.

“She was academically brilliant, lovedwriting and literature and the world around her.”

The university’s medical services teams refused to comment.

Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust carried out an investigation and submitted it to the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group along with an action plan.

A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital said Averil received the appropriate care.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:01pm Sat 30 Nov 13

stevedawson says...

Appropriate care?reads like she did until she went to norwich.
Appropriate care?reads like she did until she went to norwich. stevedawson

9:42am Sun 1 Dec 13

Taximan01 says...

Such a waste of such a beautiful young lady, Surely though, if that was my daughter with a very dangerous illness, there's no way on earth I'd let her go to university where I couldn't help\monitor her? What use is a good education if you're at risk of dying? I'd rather she flipped burgers in McDonalds & close enough to keep an eye on than this. I know it's personal choice etc & you can't wrap your kids up but it's a mental illness & you don't just recover from it like you could a physical one.
Such a waste of such a beautiful young lady, Surely though, if that was my daughter with a very dangerous illness, there's no way on earth I'd let her go to university where I couldn't help\monitor her? What use is a good education if you're at risk of dying? I'd rather she flipped burgers in McDonalds & close enough to keep an eye on than this. I know it's personal choice etc & you can't wrap your kids up but it's a mental illness & you don't just recover from it like you could a physical one. Taximan01

4:42pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Mandykennedy says...

I'm afraid when they get to 18 there is little you can do if your child wants to go to uni. All you can do is rely on what little mental health services that are offered. Even parents of 16 year olds are not automatically informed of their childs medical records. Once the child gets to 18 there is even less communication between NHS and parents, all to do with patient confidentiality. Having a daughter who has come through Anorexia and been in hospital for 4 months, you realise what a cruel illness it is. The very nature of it makes the young person, hide their activities from loved ones, even if they live in the same house. I'm lucky, my daughter attends uni and still lives at home, she realises that she cannot cope without family support, however, there is nothing we could do if she wanted to live away. My thoughts are with the family, if they are reading this, please take comfort in there was nothing you could have done yourself, do not blame yourself, your daughter knew how much you loved and cared for her, no parent could have done more. Mandy Kennedy.
I'm afraid when they get to 18 there is little you can do if your child wants to go to uni. All you can do is rely on what little mental health services that are offered. Even parents of 16 year olds are not automatically informed of their childs medical records. Once the child gets to 18 there is even less communication between NHS and parents, all to do with patient confidentiality. Having a daughter who has come through Anorexia and been in hospital for 4 months, you realise what a cruel illness it is. The very nature of it makes the young person, hide their activities from loved ones, even if they live in the same house. I'm lucky, my daughter attends uni and still lives at home, she realises that she cannot cope without family support, however, there is nothing we could do if she wanted to live away. My thoughts are with the family, if they are reading this, please take comfort in there was nothing you could have done yourself, do not blame yourself, your daughter knew how much you loved and cared for her, no parent could have done more. Mandy Kennedy. Mandykennedy

6:42pm Wed 11 Dec 13

staylor94 says...

I knew Averil from my hospital admission in June last year. In my opinion, Averil didn't receive the care that she needed or deserved at either Addenbrookes or at Norwich outpatients (both of which I have first hand experience of) and was discharged way too soon.
Towards the end of her admission, Averil still only had 2 days home leave a week, which is no where near enough to 'trial' life back home. Her struggles on the unit were still very much prominent. I knew how much she wanted to go to university and how much she wanted a fresh start, but equally how scared she was. Averil had a strong mind, she knew what she wanted and she was going to do just that. There was little that could have been done, for a girl on 19, that wanted to move on.
I, myself, have had poor treatment from both Norwich outpatients and S3 eating disorder unit, Addenbrookes. I discharged myself from both, still very unwell, with no real hesitation on either part. This is another perfect example of the devastating results of the forever lacking care & treatment in not only ED services but general adult MH services too. It just shows the awful effects of people 'slipping through the net' and it just isn't good enough. I don't know how many more deaths it is going to take for something to change.
Stacey Taylor
I knew Averil from my hospital admission in June last year. In my opinion, Averil didn't receive the care that she needed or deserved at either Addenbrookes or at Norwich outpatients (both of which I have first hand experience of) and was discharged way too soon. Towards the end of her admission, Averil still only had 2 days home leave a week, which is no where near enough to 'trial' life back home. Her struggles on the unit were still very much prominent. I knew how much she wanted to go to university and how much she wanted a fresh start, but equally how scared she was. Averil had a strong mind, she knew what she wanted and she was going to do just that. There was little that could have been done, for a girl on 19, that wanted to move on. I, myself, have had poor treatment from both Norwich outpatients and S3 eating disorder unit, Addenbrookes. I discharged myself from both, still very unwell, with no real hesitation on either part. This is another perfect example of the devastating results of the forever lacking care & treatment in not only ED services but general adult MH services too. It just shows the awful effects of people 'slipping through the net' and it just isn't good enough. I don't know how many more deaths it is going to take for something to change. Stacey Taylor staylor94

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree