Preventable death

Another preventable death.

Another family given the right information but not able to follow it through or even believe it because professionals in charge didn't know what they didn't know and there was nothing in place to tell them.

Another life lost, and a family stricken, and those who tried to help.... ravaged.

I am asking, today, whether eating disorders kill. I no longer think so. It is us. It is lack of action and anger. It is pride and professional courtesy. It is faceless invisibility of those who escape the fire but don't go back to pull others out. It is expediency and cost effectiveness and priorities. It is the self-protectiveness of exhaustion and the self-satisfaction of good fortune. It is boundaries, and insecurity, and lack of vision. It is feeling like a cog in a machine instead of the one link that can refuse to connect. It is helplessness and ambition and process.

It's not anorexia or bulimia. We do know enough about THOSE. If we chose to we could treat THEM.

For those who tried: you have nothing to answer for. The rest of us do, and will.


  1. i can only imagine the weight caretakers and families and support teams have on their shoulders.

    I can only imagine how daunting and damaging it can be to try to help and support someone who is killing themselves with an eating disorder

    What a very complicated and painful matter, and how little control caretakers must ultimately feel they have in the long run.

    To all caretakers, mothers, supporters, and lovers of someone with an ED.

    Thank you for being brave beyond words.

    Much Love

  2. Laura this is heartbreaking. Your frustration and anger and grief are just pouring out in this post...the loss of one of our precious children is a loss to all of us. Please give this family all the love and support you can from me and I'm sure all the moms and dads around the dinner table.


  3. Thank you, Laura. I have wept for most of the night and continue to weep this morning for this poor family. My fury is directed at a system that let a beautiful brilliant girl die, because of an outdated DSM criteria and a lack of education within primary care.

    With a heavy heart, I do wish I could have done more but this has filled me with steely determination to continue to campaign so this doesn't happen again.

    May she have found peace at last.

  4. Terribly sad... Do you have any more details about the case Laura, within the bounds of what lies in the public domain?

  5. That is up to the family, of course, and I have no details that are mine to share.

    Perhaps the details don't matter, though. There are countless families that are today watching tragedy unfold - helplessly, without information, without authority or power to act on the loved one's behalf. Each day, patients are failed because we lack public understanding, non-specialist training, specialist coherence, law, funding, data, and the will to act. These cases are everywhere and it is only after the fact that people truly get clarity.

    That clarity needs to last, and grow.

  6. I think Laura is right - the details don't matter, and aren't ours. All we CAN do, is to use our own stories, and those of others brave enough to use theirs (Dear Pauline here is an example )to get at those who have the power to do something to stop this.

  7. I only asked for more info because I was trying to understand some of the statements in Laura's post: i.e. what went wrong in terms of professional involvement. My feeling was that unless I knew how this oversight occurred, it is difficult to know what amends need to be made.

    Clearly something went wrong. I do think we sometimes have a big problem in terms of the understanding of AN within primary care. A number of GPs seemed to miss my extreme underweight when I visited them with physical problems caused by my AN 6-7 years ago. And now that I am weight recovered, I still have residual physical complaints (like osteoporosis and frequent infections), yet I have sometimes felt that some GPs view me as a hypochondriac, or that in terms of the AN I should have just 'pulled myself together'.

  8. I hope you didn't think I was being critical Cathy. I didn't mean to. I was thinking rather that even if we don't know many details we can still use this information and the anger it rightly provokes for positive ends.

  9. No worries Marcella; I was just trying to imagine the context and get my brain around the analogies and idioms to see the 'bigger picture'...

  10. Cathy and I had a lovely chat today. She is saddened by this miserable episode and horrified by the gaps in the system that contributed to this sorry episode. She has had some pretty raw treatment herself at the hands of inexperienced/underinformed professionals.

    This is a terrible tragedy and I have written to the Prime Minister (among others) about this. In the meantime, we should respect the family's privacy and their need to grieve BUT this does not mean we cannot all learn from this and try to raise awareness so we can catch others that are falling through the net.



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