19-year-old anorexic student starves to death after multiple NHS screw-ups
Negligence by the NHS led to the death of a young girl which could have very easily been avoided had they been more proactive.
A young 19-year-old student who battled anorexia starved to death after multiple NHS failures. Averil Hart, a former grammar school student, was let down by all departments and aspects of an organization that could have done a lot more to keep her alive and nursed her back to health, according to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. However, the four NHS bodies did not own up to their mistake and have refused to take any sort of responsibility or accountability for their actions.
The report went on to state how the four NHS bodies were extremely defensive about their glaring errors and protective of themselves, which cost a young life. Ombudsman Rob Behrens revealed how this was one in many cases and was just one unfortunate example of a much larger problem.
The family of the victim condemned the 'Third World Care' that led to the loss of their child and questioned why it took officials five years to discover the failures.
Averil was found in her room in her University after losing approximately 2 stones, which was about one-third of her body weight. Doctors had not tracked her weight nor kept a watch on her mental health. After she was rushed to A&E, two hospitals made huge mistakes which ultimately led to her untimely death.
Averil was a grade A student who had achieved five straight A*s at A-level at the Colchester Royal Grammar School, before going in for a Creative Writing degree at the University of East Anglia. When her family questioned the NHS about their negligence, their response was evasive and nonchalant.
Crucial emails which pertained to Averil's health were deleted in a hurry following her death in a bid to cover up the blatant errors. Even the hospital's complaint handling system was so poor that it was termed 'maladministration'.
Averil's father Nic Hart, managing director of a weather equipment firm in Essex, spent an estimated £200,000 investigating his daughter's death. He told Dailymail, "Not only was the care that Averil received negligent, but the investigation of her death took far too long and this has resulted in further unnecessary deaths. We lost our beautiful daughter... and all we want are honest answers."
Nic rebuked the Ombudsman Rob, who eventually apologized for the delay in the report and also said that the young girl's death could have been avoided, had the NHS paid more attention.
During Averil's first appointment, she weighed 6st 10lbs and four months later, she weighed an astonishing 4st 10lb and had lost a total of 29% of her body weight. She was required to have weekly appointments but the GP told her she would not have to come back for a month.
A trainee psychologist failed to keep a check on her weight and went on vacation without finding an alternative replacement for himself. When Nic and Averil's sister saw her in November, they were shocked to see the amount of weight she had lost. No action was taken despite the doctor's assurance to do so.
UEA Medical Centre, Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, and Cambridge University Hospitals expressed 'sincere condolences' to the Hart family. The Department of Health claimed that this case along with other similar cases has brought about a big change in the way NHS treats and deals with eating disorders.
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