Thursday 29 December 2011

Such a big topic I hardly know where to start...

...Although a dear friend of mine succeeded admirably in her latest blog post: We, ED-connected friends across the world, are starkly aware that young people are dying from eating disorders; my blogging friend has learned of four deaths in the past six weeks alone - and one of these was tragically on Christmas Day.

It seems that in so many cases eating disorders just aren't taken as seriously as they should be. Young people are being put on ridiculously long waiting lists while others are being refused instant hospital admission because it's the wrong time of year i.e. Christmas or they're not deemed to be 'sick enough' or their BMI isn't 'low enough to warrant admission'.

And some of these young people are very ill indeed. Some are so ill that they die.

Of course not all deaths from eating disorders are caused by medical professionals not taking eating disorders as seriously as other potentially fatal illnesses, but we believe that some are.

Young people are dying when medical professionals should be pushing them towards recovery - not pushing them away from the treatment they so desperately need.

Other young people's eating disorders are being needlessly prolonged because medical professionals are waiting for them to 'want' to recover, colluding with the ED or simply being too soft.

As I said in response to the above blog post:

Like you, we were put on a ridiculously long waiting list for treatment and all I could do during this time was to helplessly watch my son deteriorate rapidly – which he did. It took an emergency admission to our local cardio unit with a pulse rate of 29bpm for me to finally persuade CAMHS to see us a few weeks sooner than the original appointment.
Just as bad, our GP didn’t take us too seriously. Skinny boys with faddy eating habits aren’t unusual, after all. I had to virtually twist his arm to get us referred to CAMHS in the first place.

Thankfully, as you know, we have virtually emerged out the other side of this long, dark ED tunnel. But had my son’s heart NOT picked up after that emergency admission and had CAMHS NOT seen us sooner than originally planned, then who knows what the outcome might have been?

These teenagers should be fast-tracked into treatment in the same way they would be if they had another potentially fatal illness. I am guessing that if our GP suspected something like cancer we would have been jetted off to hospital within days.


  1. Batty, You are so correct. I have to say in our case, my pediatrician took things very seriously, and Vale was in to see an Adolescent Medical Specialist (who also runs an ED clinic) within a matter of days. I'm so thankful for her wisdom and willingness to act. I'm also thankful that your son was given the treatment he needed for recovery. Prayerfully, both our sons will be well on their way towards full recovery this year.
    Vale's Mom