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Published January 14, 2012 09:54
A PROMISING medical student from Sheffield who battled with an eating disorder died when her severely-emaciated body failed to cope with anti-depressants prescribed by her GP mother, an inquest heard.
Tragic Katie Lumb, aged 23, of Hartland Avenue, Sothall, weighed just 5st 8lbs when she died from a toxic build-up of the drugs after desperately asking her mother, a doctor, to treat her as a private patient in April last year.
Dr Susan Lumb told the inquest: “I wasn’t the right person to treat her, I know that. I tried to get that across to her but she would not listen.
“I was very much aware that when her mood was low, her appetite went down and she would lose weight.
“I thought it was possible that if her mood lifted, she would eat.”
Her parents had first noticed she had lost a significant amount of weight when she returned to the family home in Sheffield for Christmas in 2008, but she hid the full extent of her anorexia-like condition.
In October 2009 she went to see her GP and was immediately admitted to hospital.
The court heard that, at her lowest ebb, Katie’s weight plummeted to 4st 9lbs, doctors feared for her life and she spent two months in Leeds General Infirmary being fed through a tube.
When she was fit to be discharged she was referred as an outpatient to the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders at Seacroft Hospital, in Leeds.
After she was discharged, Leeds University student Katie failed to keep her outpatient appointments and attended only two out of 12.
She was eventually dismissed as a patient and throughout 2010 assured her worried mum and dad Martin Lumb that she was getting help.
But by early 2011 she appeared to be suffering from severe anxiety.
She was prescribed the anti-depressant drug citalopram by her mother after she begged for help, but refused to see other professionals.
Tragically, a few weeks later she collapsed three times at her student home but refused all attempts by worried flatmate Miriam Walden to seek medical attention.
Miriam told the inquest at Leeds Coroner’s Court she had insisted Katie at least call the NHS Direct helpline, but later discovered she had only pretended to make the call.
Katie was discovered dead in the bedroom of her shared student house in Leeds, the following day, on May 13 last year.
Recording a narrative verdict, West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff said: “A post mortem examination shows the cause of death to be citalopram toxicity.
“This was caused by a disorder of metabolism and impaired kidney function, relating to her dangerous low body weight which would have caused a build-up of the drug within her system to a fatal level.
“Her degree of emaciation and malnutrition has contributed to this by causing changes in the beating mechanism of her heart.”