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Negligence at NNUH

When an anorexic patient who has collapsed arrives at an acute ward, it is essential that the treatment given deals with the anorexia, not just the symptoms. NNUH failed to provide appropriate specialised care.

Averil was rushed to Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital and admitted to the gastroenterology ward. Having been recently ill, she had accidentally taken too much paracetamol, which had worsened her condition. She was seriously ill when she arrived at NNUH, making immediate treatment under the MARSIPAN guidelines essential.

While guidelines on the treatment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa suggest that physical activity should be minimised, and that nasogastric methods should be used to feed patients, neither of these happened at NNUH. The staff appointed to Averil's case lacked the expertise to deal with the special requirements of eating disorder patients. 

Averil was required to eat food from a trolley on the ward, which is almost impossible for a late stage Anorexia Nervosa patient. Subsequently, she sustained a head injury when she fell while on the ward. She had been allowed to move around, but her mobility not only drained her of energy, but also put her at risk of injuries like the one sustained. This should not have happened, and proper protocols should have been in place to reduce the risks of excessive movement and injury.

Response to our Complaint

The NNUH team responded to our complaint, and has commissioned an independent review by Dr. Paul Robinson, author of the MARSIPAN guidelines. There is evidence that the hospital has changed its practice to avoid further harm to patients. We are happy with this approach.

The complaint we submitted, however, has not been responded to by NHS England.