Doc­tors sent our girl home to die

Par­ents hit out over sui­cide of anorexic pupil 15, just five days af­ter clinic dis­charged her

Daily Mail - - News - For con­fi­den­tial sup­port, call the Sa­mar­i­tans on 116123, visit a lo­cal Sa­mar­i­tans branch or go to­mar­i­ By Liz Hull

THE par­ents of an anorexic school­girl who stepped in front of a train five days af­ter be­ing re­leased from a top psy­chi­atric unit said last night that their daugh­ter was failed by au­thor­i­ties ‘from be­gin­ning to end’.

Pippa McManus, 15, who weighed as lit­tle as four stone, com­mit­ted sui­cide af­ter a fam­ily ar­gu­ment about her ex­ces­sive gym use ended with her run­ning out of the house shout­ing: ‘I am go­ing to kill my­self.’

Her body was later found near a lo­cal railway sta­tion.

The girl’s par­ents, Marie and James McManus, had ex­pressed reser­va­tions about her re­lease from the pri­vate Priory clinic, where her treat­ment was be­ing funded by NHS Eng­land, but felt they were ‘left with no choice’, they told an in­quest in Stock­port.

Speak­ing af­ter a jury ruled the young­ster – known as Pip – com­mit­ted sui­cide, Mrs McManus, 51, broke down in tears. She said: ‘Pip spent the last three years fight­ing against anorexia, mal­nu­tri­tion, de­pres­sion and self­harm. We be­lieve the fail­ings in our daugh­ter’s care from be­gin­ning to end re­sulted in her death.

‘Ef­fec­tive treat­ment is needed quickly, and if this had been avail­able to our beau­ti­ful daugh­ter maybe she would still be alive to­day. Maybe we would not have needed this in­quest.’

The cou­ple, who have three other chil­dren, took Pippa to a doc­tor around Christ­mas 2012 when she be­gan ‘spi­ralling out of con­trol’, be­com­ing ob­sessed with hav­ing a ‘fat’ chin, pre­oc­cu­pied with her diet and ex­er­cis­ing fa­nat­i­cally.

She was treated by lo­cal men­tal health ser­vices be­fore be­ing de­tained un­der the Men­tal Health Act at the Priory Hospi­tal in Al­trin­cham in Septem­ber 2014. The in­quest charted how Pippa strug­gled with her eat­ing dis­or­der, had self-harmed and threat­ened sui­cide dur­ing her 15-month stay in the spe­cial­ist unit. Pippa was al­lowed a home visit in Fe­bru­ary 2015, but seven good­bye let­ters to her par­ents, sib­lings, friends and even her pet dog were found and she was re­turned to hospi­tal.

One note de­scribed how she wanted to ‘grow up and have a life, but I don’t have one’. She added: ‘I can­not fight anorexia any more than I have done. I have tried so very hard.’

Dr Janet Walsh, a con­sul­tant ado­les­cent psy­chi­a­trist in charge of the teenager’s treat­ment, told the in­quest there was noth­ing to make her or her col­leagues be­lieve that Pippa was a sui­cide risk when she was dis­charged on De­cem­ber 4, 2015, on ex­tended home leave. The jury agreed that send­ing her home was ap­pro­pri­ate but stressed that the dis­charge was poorly planned by Traf­ford Child And Ado­les­cent Men­tal Health Ser­vices. They also said it was not made clear to Pippa’s par­ents that the risk of sui­cide was greater in the first few days af­ter her dis­charge. Deb­o­rah Coles, di­rec­tor of cam­paign group In­quest which has been sup­port­ing the fam­ily, said: ‘Pip’s death has ex­posed a men­tal health sys­tem which pushed through the dis­charge of a highly vul­ner­a­ble child with­out any of the sup­port or care in place to make sure she would be safe. Her ter­ri­fied fam­ily knew there was huge risk. Their con­cerns were dis­missed and min­imised through­out.’

Mrs McManus has now set up the Pip Foun­da­tion to help the char­ity Anorexia And Bulimia Care. She said: ‘Pippa hated her­self. She thought she was the ugli­est per­son in the world. What­ever you said, it didn’t make a dif­fer­ence be­cause that’s what the anorexia was telling her.

‘ We needed men­tal health work­ers to work with us but they weren’t there to do that. We were let down by every­body.’

She added: ‘The tear in the thread of our fam­ily will never be mended. We do not want Pip’s life and suf­fer­ing to have been in vain.

‘When­ever she was able she tried to help oth­ers with sim­i­lar con­di­tions. We are plan­ning to con­tinue her good work through the Pip Foun­da­tion.

‘We es­pe­cially want to cre­ate a ded­i­cated early in­ter­ven­tion cen­tre to help young peo­ple and their fam­i­lies.’

Paula Stan­ford, di­rec­tor of the Priory, said: ‘Our heart­felt sym­pa­thies are with Pip’s fam­ily and we will now care­fully con­sider the find­ings of the jury.’

‘We were let down by every­body’

So much prom­ise: Pippa McManus who died at 15

Bat­tle: Pippa at the height of her strug­gle with anorexia

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