Emma Duffy, 24, has battled anorexia since she was eight
An anorexic woman who has not eaten for a year could kill herself if the NHS stops treating her in hospital, her parents warned last night.
Emma Duffy – who has a personality disorder and has tried to commit suicide nine times – was said to be making good progress until health bosses ruled they would not fund the £1,000-a-day specialist care she needed.
Now the family of the 24-year-old have released pictures of her plight in an attempt to save her life because they are so disgusted with the NHS’s attitude.
During her 16-year battle with anorexia, Miss Duffy has swallowed razor blades, has been admitted to hospital ‘hundreds of times’ and has been repeatedly sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Her parents have been warned on several occasions to prepare for her death after her organs began shutting down.
Now doctors at the hospital in Middlesbrough where she has been treated for six months have decided to discharge her.
As a result, she could be sent back into the community in days, weighing six stone and refusing all nutrients.
Miss Duffy, who has only had a liquid diet for the past year, was to have been sent to The Retreat clinic in York – one of the few units in the country that treats eating and personality disorders together.
Her consultant believed it could help her overcome anorexia and Miss Duffy was confident that it would save her life.
But she was told three weeks ago that the NHS would not fund the £1,000-a-day specialist care.
She then left the hospital, went by rail to Newcastle and took an overdose of pills.
Her family used tracking software on her phone to find her and save her life.
Her parents have now set up an internet appeal to raise £1million for three years of treatment.
They are furious with the Health Service for its failure to help her effectively, even though her father, Alan, 57, works for the NHS as a clinical engineering manager.
Mother Beverley, 51, has started the fundraising effort with her youngest daughter Amy, 20.
Mrs Duffy, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said Amy’s sister cannot be watched 24 hours a day at home and is likely to try to kill herself as soon as she can.
Shock: Images of Emma from November, which partly show the dangerous level to which she has lost weight
Emma aged eight, when she overheard a comment about her weight that triggered her 16-year battle with anorexia
Emma volunteering in Ghana in 2009 when she was barely eating and right, in the grip of the eating disorder
She believes her daughter will also reject the community care doctors have decided to give her instead of treatment in hospital.
‘I think the attitude of the NHS is disgusting,’ said Mrs Duffy.
‘It comes down to money. She’s in a worse state now than she was when she was admitted to hospital. She has had all hope taken away from her. It’s not safe to discharge her.’