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Woman from Chirk died after long struggle with anorexia

Published date: 11 July 2017 |
Published by: Geraint Jones 
Read more articles by Geraint Jones  Email reporter


A woman with anorexia died in hospital from complications resulting from her condition, a coroner ruled.

Coroner John Gittins found that 29-year-old Joanne Kay Morris, of Crogen in Chirk, died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital of sepsis due to anorexia on September 14.

An inquest at County Hall, Ruthin, heard Miss Morris – who also had obsessive compulsive disorder – had suffered from anorexia since the age of 10 and her mother, Rhian Morris, said the problem had started after a healthy eating push at school.

Dr Jane Roberts, a GP at Castle Health Centre in Chirk, said Miss Morris had obsessive symptoms from the age of five or six, and had never been able to sustain a healthy weight or recover from anorexia.

The inquest heard Miss Morris was discharged from an 18-month stay at Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Heddfan mental health unit in February 2016 after a Court of Protection Order was sought by her psychiatrist, Dr Lucie Klenka.

Mrs Morris added her daughter felt she “had to accept the decision despite being totally opposed to the process”. 

She added her daughter needed 24/7 care from the family by March 2016 and had psychiatric visits, blood tests, continuing engagement with a care co-ordinator and regular support from Dr Roberts.

Later that year Miss Morris was admitted to Nightingale House Hospice, where CPR procedure was discussed.

The inquest heard she was totally opposed to a do not resuscitate order.

She was discharged with medication on September 10, her mother said.

Miss Morris started having problems swallowing food and began to feel unwell, before she was admitted to Wrexham Maelor Hospital – where she died on September 14.

When Mr Gittins asked whether Llinos Prydderch – a ward manager at Heddfan – thought discharging Miss Morris was setting her up to fail, the ward manager said there was a risk involved but “it was also a chance to grasp” the opportunity.

She added she visited Miss Morris at Nightingale House Hospice on the Friday before her death, where she “spoke fondly” of the time she had spent with her family.  

Dr Lucie Klenka – consultant psychiatrist and eating disorder lead for the trust – said she proceeded with the court order to ask for advice on treatment from other professionals.

Dr Klenka said during her time at Heddfan, Miss Morris would go through cycles where she would gain weight, it would plateau and she would be unable to sustain it.

She added it had “got to the point where that the treatment was becoming more punitive than the illness itself”.

The inquest heard if there was any minute chance Miss Morris could “turn it around”, “it would not have been if we continued to do what  we were doing”.

She added she did not think Miss Morris would have lived for as long as she did had she stayed in hospital. 

The doctor said during Miss Morris’ stay at Heddfan there were times when “feeding was done under extreme coercion”. 

While assessing Miss Morris’ case, Dr Klenka looked at notes to see how she had been treated before.

In December 2015 she contacted various specialist centres, but they would not admit Miss Morris.

Miss Morris’ sister, Samantha Morris, said the family felt there had been no continuity of care.

The inquest had earlier heard the order restricted psychological care, but not emergency medical treatment.  

Dr Javier Rodriguez, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s clinical director for mental health services, said a health board review found the care Miss Morris received was comparable to a specialist eating disorder unit.

Services did try to engage with Miss Morris, he said, but added there was a communication issue in terms of the overall treatment plan developed in the community between services and the acute medical staff.

The sharing of the court order should have been part of the overall plan.

Pathologist Dr Mark Atkinson found Miss Morris died due to sepsis caused by anorexia and Mr Gittins recorded a conclusion of death by natural causes.

“It was an illness that she had suffered from for many, many years,” the coroner added.

“She had suffered, at times coping better than others, but fundamentally with difficulty since the age of 10 and ultimately succumbed to it.”

Mr Gittins expressed concern over the lack of “joined up thinking” regarding communication between community and hospital teams regarding the court order.

But he decided to delay a final decision on whether to make a Regulation 28 report – calling for action to be taken to prevent future deaths – as a meeting was to be held later this month. improvements to communication.

Mr Gittins expected BCUHB to report to him and also inform Miss Morris’ family, adding measures should be in place by November to ensure continuity of care.

A BCUHB spokesman said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Joanne’s family.

“We have listened carefully to the recommendations of the coroner and acknowledge the need for improved communication between the different teams in the health board. We are committed to making improvements.”

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