A woman with severe anorexia died two days after she was denied hospital treatment, an inquest heard.
Madeline Wallace, 18, was given an urgent referral by an out-of-hours GP but it was rejected because “there were not enough beds”.
She had been seen by a GP at her family surgery two days before and diagnosed with a muscular-skeletal issue.
Miss Wallace died at Peterborough City Hospital on 9 January, 2018 due to complications from sepsis.
The inquest at Huntingdon Law Courts heard that Miss Wallace was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in October 2016 and had “rapidly lost weight” during her first term as a medical student at Edinburgh University in 2017.
Her family described her as a “immensely intelligent, hard working and artistic” young woman who was motivated to recover from her anorexia because of her determination to become a doctor herself.
Her mother, Christine Reid, said there had been “gaps” in her care, including a failure to recognise “the dire urgency of the situation” by medics at the Cullen Centre, in Edinburgh.
She returned home to be treated by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) in December 2017 to focus on her recovery, her parents said.
She became seriously unwell with chest pains and was rushed to hospital in Peterborough on 4 January.
She felt “agitated” and worried she would miss meals she needed for her recovery, and discharged herself, the inquest heard.
Miss Wallace told a GP about her symptoms during a regular anorexia check-up the next day, but was told she had pulled a muscle or broken a rib, Ms Reid said.
On 7 January her mother phoned 111 and a nurse from Hertfordshire Urgent Care referred her to an out of hours GP who made an urgent referral for hospital treatment.
The GP’s request was denied and she was sent home with antibiotics.
The urgent care nurse admitted she did not know much about anorexia and had not considered sepsis or an urgent hospital admission herself.
On 8 January, Miss Wallace was again rushed to hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia which had developed into sepsis, the inquest heard.
The following day, doctors attempted a procedure to save her life but she died in theatre.
The inquest continues.
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.