THE family of a talented and caring Padiham teenager who died battling anorexia have called for more to be done to raise awareness and help youngsters with the disease.
Charlotte Rose Seddon (17), a straight A student, died suddenly at home in Balliol Close 12 days after leaving the Priory, Altrincham, following four months of treatment. She weighed just 6st.
An inquest into her death at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard Charlotte’s heart failed after becoming small due to a lack of nutrients.
Pathologist Dr Jane Edwards, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said there would have been no symptoms or warning, despite Charlotte having regular health checks.
Recording a narrative verdict, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor said to her family: “You paint a picture of an intelligent, self-assured young lady who was overcome by this condition which tragically led to her death.
“I could say this was a natural cause of death but I don’t think that will do her justice.”
Her parents Stephen and Corinne, twin sister Abby and brother Daniel told the inquest they initially struggled to get medical help for Charlotte, a talented artist who dreamed of becoming an art therapist, after she started having issues aged 13. She won countless awards and trophies for student of the year, girl of the year and best exam results at Shuttleworth College and was nominated for the Young Burnley Achiever Award at the Best of Burnley Awards 2010.
She had been studying A-levels at Nelson and Colne College before her health deteriorated.
Mrs Seddon, who works at Gisburn Park Hospital with her husband, said: “The whole point of anorexia is they think they are in control. It was a rapid decline.”
Charlotte had initially been under the care of child services at Burnley General Hospital. At 16 she was classed as an adult and received treatment as an outpatient from an adult eating disorder service at Pendle House, Nelson.
But Mrs Seddon said as Charlotte was treated as an adult, medical staff were under no obligation to tell her parents the extent of her illness.
“The thing with the outpatient service is that it’s very disjointed. It relies on patients sorting out their own appointments with GPs for ECGs and blood tests.”
The family also revealed Charlotte said she felt she was not ready to leave the Priory when she was discharged.
While she was still in hospital she visited Padiham at weekends but it was clear to her parents she was struggling.
Mr and Mrs Seddon have urged people to watch for their children avoiding meals, disappearing after meals, spending a lot of time on their own or even viewing “sick” websites which offer tips to sufferers on how to lose weight.
Charlotte recorded her thoughts and feelings about her illness in diaries, where she wrote about being trapped in a cycle of losing weight, exercise, calorie counting and depression.
“They did say the sooner they catch it, the better chance they have of recovery,” said Mrs Seddon.