Woman Took Her Own Life After Suffering From Dangerous Eating Disorder Diabulimia
The devastated family of a Hertfordshire teacher who took her own life are taking their fight for answers to the High Court as they continue to seek a new inquest into her death.
Megan Davison, 27, from Cheshunt, died in August 2017. Prior to this, she was suffering from diabulimia, a combination of type-one diabetes and disordered eating, now more accurately known as T1DE. This condition was described in a BBC documentary as ‘the world’s most dangerous eating disorder.’
An inquest concluded the cause of Megan’s death was suicide. Her family instructed public law and human rights experts at Irwin Mitchell to help them seek a new inquest as they felt there wasn’t sufficient evidence provided on Megan’s diabulimia.
In October last year, Megan’s mum Lesley, 64, was granted permission by the Attorney General to make an application to the High Court, seeking a new inquest to be held into her daughter’s death. This came after the family’s legal team argued it’s likely to lead to a Report To Prevent Future Deaths regarding the monitoring and treatment of the condition.
A hearing is now scheduled for 17 May, where Lesley and her lawyers will be able to put forward the family’s concerns and reasons behind the application. Adam Straw QC of Doughty Street Chambers is instructed to represent the family at the hearing.
Expert Opinion“Since Megan’s death, Lesley and the rest of her family have understandably struggled to deal with their loss.
Their concerns over the inquest only added to their grief, as they feel there wasn’t enough focus on Megan’s diabulimia and how this contributed to her death.
Following the Attorney General granting permission for Lesley to apply for a new inquest, we’re pleased that a hearing is now scheduled in the High Court. This is a huge step for Megan’s loved ones and we’ll continue to support them throughout the process.”
Oliver Carter - Associate Solicitor
Megan had a history of mental health illness and began seeing a psychologist in January 2017. Seven months later, on 4 August, she was found unresponsive.
During the original inquest in March 2018, it was heard that Megan had left a note for her family and had also sent a text message to her psychologist before taking her own life.
The coroner recorded suicide, but Lesley and husband Neal, 65, raised concerns over how the inquest was conducted. No witnesses were called from the Community Eating Disorders Service, despite the inquest hearing Megan, who was diagnosed with diabetes at 16, began restricting her insulin intake to control her weight.
Furthermore, no witnesses with specialist knowledge in diabulimia were called.
Lesley said: “When we lost Megan, we were absolutely heartbroken. No parent should ever have to bury a child, and it still devastates us almost five years on to think she’s no longer here.
“The inquest did very little in giving us any kind of closure as we feel there wasn’t a sufficient investigation into Megan’s diabulimia and mental health problems.
“As a result, we’re so thankful that we’ve been given the opportunity to take our concerns to the High Court and seek a fresh inquest. While nothing can change what happened to Megan and bring her back to us, we’re determined to raise awareness of the condition that we believe took our daughter from us.”
Lesley added: “A current storyline in Coronation Street has also hit home with us, as the character Summer is struggling with an eating disorder alongside managing a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Given the audience reach, we’re hopeful this will help generate more awareness around these issues.”
Lucy McKay, spokesperson for the charity INQUEST, said: “The purpose of an inquest is to uncover the truth about the circumstances of individual deaths, and in turn identify ongoing risks to protect other people in the future. This is in the interest of bereaved families and the public, and should be informed by expert evidence.
“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Proper scrutiny of deaths like Megan’s is therefore vital in uncovering and addressing the issues which are causing too many preventable deaths. We stand with the family and their legal team in fighting for truth and justice in this case, to prevent the deaths of others in the future.” References: ‘Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among psychiatric disorders’
Hilary Nathan, Director of Policy at type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said: “Living with type 1 diabetes can take a significant toll on both your physical and mental health, especially when it is combined with an eating disorder as harmful as T1DE. Thanks to the tireless work of the Davison family and others affected by T1DE, we are seeing progress being made in bringing attention to this potentially fatal condition, and hope that this inquiry can bring some answers around how diabulimia contributed to Megan’s death.
“We are encouraged by the hospitals seeing success in their pilot T1DE programmes, and I wish to thank those involved in delivering these crucial services. However, we know there is much more to be done to ensure nobody else experiences what Megan and her family have been through. If you or anyone you know is struggling with T1DE, please find information and guidance on our website.”
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