Eating disorders charity hopes lessons will be learned following inquest into death of Bristol anorexic
An eating disorders charity hopes that lessons will be learned following an inquest into the death of a Bristol teenager.
Laura Willmott, of Redland, was just 18 when she lost her battle with anorexia in December 2011.
An inquest into her death at the coroner’s court in Flax Bourton yesterday heard that she died as a result of a brain injury caused by a cardiac arrest while being treated for the physical symptoms of her anorexia.
Her mother, Vickie Townsend, told the inquest she had concerns about the transition from child and adolescent care to adult care in patients with anorexia.
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Mrs Townsend, who volunteers for the Wedmore-based charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care, hopes that the experiences of her daughter can be used to inform the care of other patients with eating disorders in the future.
Assistant deputy coroner, Terence Moore, said he would be writing to health trusts about some of the issues raised by Laura’s mother, including requesting the primary care trust to allocate funding so that patients with anorexia can spend longer in hospital to stabilise their physical symptoms. He also asked for mental health services to inform hospitals of relevant information about their patients to help inform their care.
Mrs Townsend said: “We expect the issues highlighted to the coroner to be acted upon to save lives and prevent other families from going through this terrible situation.”
Jane Smith, director of Anorexia and Bulimia Care said: “Sadly we hear from families every week who are unhappy with treatment, the wait for treatment and with the transition arrangements between care for children and adults in our health service. Last week MPs held a debate in the House of Commons on the subject of eating disorders and many personal cases were highlighted where families felt either their GPs or the health service had let them down.
“Vickie Townsend has been instrumental in our Change for the Better campaign, which is calling for this problem to be recognised and tackled by health professionals. It is urgent that action is taken quickly to prevent more deaths like those of Laura.
“Education for health professionals, teachers and parents is vital in helping to reduce the growing numbers needing urgent medical care. Vickie’s Forget me not Appeal in Laura’s name is raising funds for ABC’s on-line training programme and will doubtless make a difference.”
For more information visit http://laurawillmott.co.uk/forget-me-not-appeal/