My 12-year-old needs urgent help for her genetic eating disorder, she could have died

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Bill English; my 12-year-old daughter needs urgent help for her genetic eating disorder, she could have died.

My daughter was 10 when I noticed her starting to lose weight fast - it was frightening.  My gorgeous girl was melting away before my eyes.

I desperately sought help from our GP and mental health service, but it took weeks before she was seen. She became so ill she had to be airlifted to Dunedin Hospital with life-threatening heart complications and organ failure.

Earlier intervention could have prevented this.

I discovered a shocking reality - just one eating disorder facility in the whole country looks after children aged under 14 at the Starship Hospital in Auckland. It contains only a few beds for the sickest. No referrals are accepted from the South Island.

Instead, she was sent to Princess Margaret Hospital in Christchurch. Not only was the building earthquake damaged and appallingly dilapidated, but she was also sent to the psychiatric unit, not an eating disorder ward.

The staff did their best, but they didn’t have the training or equipment for treating eating disorders. She now sufferers nightmares and PTSD as a result of this experience and an attack by a male patient at the unit.

All I want is the right care for my daughter, but the government does not recognise this need or fund it.

I am fighting to give my daughter back the normal life she deserves. She has been horribly ill for 2.5 years, and I’m exhausted from trying to get her the help she needs. The health system does not have the resources to treat her, so they are leaving her in limbo.

We have been forced to sell our family home and move into a small cottage as I now have to care for her full-time. I have been forced to sell one of my businesses and mothball the other. I'm a single parent, and I've worked hard to build them, now I've lost our means of support.

We now face homelessness as I don't have enough money coming in to cover our family’s bills and the high expenses of her illness.

My happy, bubbly, sunshine child has disappeared - and I can’t get her the help she desperately needs. Please ask the Government and Opposition to urgently commit more resources for GP training and to eating disorder facilities for my daughter and all our children in need.

 



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