Anorexic girl ‘would rather die than eat’, inquest hears

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Ellie Long was described as an intelligent girl expected to do well in her exams

A 15-year-old girl who wanted to be a doctor took her own life after being given Prozac to help with her anorexia.

Ellie Long, from Wymondham, Norfolk, had a “two-year history of low mood” and had once written a suicide note, an inquest in Norwich heard.

The teenager’s family told the court they had been “failed by everyone” prior to her death on 12 December 2017.

Mental health doctor Keran Chitari, who treated Ellie, said services at the time had been “stretched”.

In a statement, Ellie’s mother Nicki Long told Norfolk Coroner’s Court that after losing weight, her daughter began to suffer from sleeping problems, which progressed to self-harming and suicidal thoughts.

Ellie was referred to the eating disorders service by her GP and saw both a dietician and a psychiatrist but found the constant talk of food “patronising” so stopped attending her appointments, Mrs Long said.

This resulted in some clinical decisions – such as doubling the amount of Prozac Ellie was prescribed – being taken without seeing her in person. the inquest was told.

Mrs Long said her daughter was “crying out for help but it was not provided”.

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The teenager died in hospital two days after being found hanged in her bedroom

After a nine-day spell in hospital, the family feared for Ellie’s safety after she said she would rather kill herself than eat, claiming “everyone would be better off without me”.

Mrs Long told how on 9 December, she called for an ambulance but was advised to take Ellie to a walk-in centre.

She also called police in the hope her daughter could be sectioned but was given an automated number for social services, the court heard.

The following day, Mrs Long found Ellie hanging in her bedroom. She died in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital two days later.

Dr Keran Chitari, formerly of the Norfolk and Suffolk Mental Health Trust, told the inquest she had not been aware of Ellie’s historical suicide risk.

“A care plan had never been completed and there was no crisis plan,” she said.

“Six people were trying to do the work of 20. The service was stretched but we were trying to offer the best care possible.”

The inquest continues.