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Family critical of daughter's anorexia treatment
12:00pm Saturday 30th November 2013 in News
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.
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