Cambridgeshire

Maria Jakes: Anorexic patient 'reported own weight to doctors'

Peterborough Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Maria Jakes spent time at Peterborough City Hospital before being transferred elsewhere

A woman suffering from acute anorexia was allowed to report her own weight to doctors after she refused to be monitored, an inquest has heard.

Maria Jakes, 24, died from multiple organ failure in September 2018 after battling with the eating disorder for more than 10 years.

She usually failed to attend her GP for weight and blood tests, a court heard.

Ms Jakes reported weight herself as she was sensitive to perceived interference by health professionals.

Huntingdon Coroners' Court heard that Ms Jakes walked up to 20 miles (32.1km) a day despite her condition between March and June 2018.

Julie Finney, a clinical nurse specialist with Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT), was asked why Ms Jakes had been allowed to self-report her weight to nurses for so long.

Ms Finney said: "Sometimes when you have a very high-risk patient who refuses point blank to be weighed, going on self-reported weight is better than nothing at all."

She said Ms Jakes' reported weight was consistent with how she looked.

'Quite traumatic'

Ms Jakes was admitted to Peterborough City Hospital in July 2018.

Asked about the length of time it took for her to be admitted, Ms Finney said professionals were trying to avoid being seen to be forcing Ms Jakes.

"To intervene in a coercive way, there would be nothing voluntary about it, and it would have been quite traumatic," Ms Finney said.

"In previous admissions she had lost weight, so the idea that you could call on the Mental Health Act and everything would right itself isn't the case."

She was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in August.

Ms Jakes' death is one of five related to eating disorders that coroner Sean Horstead is examining between 2012 and 2018 in the east of England.

Mr Horstead said he had so far made "no finding, conclusion or determination as to whether there is a definitive link" between them.

Ms Jakes' inquest is due to last six days.

If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, you can talk in confidence to eating disorders charity Beat by calling its adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

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