A SEVERELY malnourished woman with an undetected eating disorder died after she pulled out her feeding tube.

Elizabeth Leitch, of Radstock Lane, Earley, was first admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in May after falling from her bike.

She became delirious and confused, forcing doctors to undertake psychiatric assessments after concerns about her weight.

The 58-year-old weighed only 26kg and would often refuse to eat her food. She contracted pneumonia at the hospital and died on June 5 after pulling out her tube.

The inquest at Reading Town Hall on Friday heard Mrs Leitch was likely suffering from an undiagnosed eating disorder.

Peter Bedford, senior coroner for Berkshire, explained she died of natural causes and believed the hospital did all they could to help her.

He said: “What is clear is that Mrs Leitch clearly had longstanding and chronic issues with her weight, her eating habits and the extent to which she shared this with her family was limited.

“This was not a healthy or a robust patient. She was already very unwell and I do not believe that a different course of action would have saved her.”

Reading Chronicle:

An inquest was held at Reading Town Hall on Friday

Mrs Leitch became irritable with her family, who raised concerns about the number of different wards she was taken to and the time taken to conduct a mental health review.

The psychiatric team decided not to intervene immediately when she showed signs of improvement and her weight increased.

However, her condition declined quickly when she removed the tube and suffered from seizures.

Her husband Steven said the continuity of the care she received was limited after she was made to move to different wards, but admitted the outcome would not have been different.

Dr George Farah, a consultant at the hospital, added: “She had an extremely low BMI, low sodium levels and longstanding disorder.

“We believe the outcome was unavoidable and different management would have made no difference in this case.

“There are no protocols for a patient with a low BMI and when her weight started to increase we believed she was making good progress.”