Hydration Diet woman awarded £810,000 damages

A woman who was left brain damaged and epileptic after going on a radical diet has been awarded more than £800,000 damages at the High Court.

Dawn Page, 52, who has two children, was told to drink an extra four pints of water daily and cut salt intake to prevent fluid retention and lose weight. But within days of going on the Amazing Hydration Diet she was vomiting uncontrollably and suffered an epileptic fit.

Mrs Page of Faringdon, Wiltshire, was admitted to intensive care, but has been left suffering from epilepsy and a "cognitive deficit" which has affected her memory, concentration and ability to speak normally.

Mrs Page was forced to quit her job, suffers frequent mood swings, and has relied on her husband, Geoff, 54, for help ever since.

Mrs Page secured a £810,000 payout last week from her nutritionist's insurer after a six-year legal battle. Barbara Nash, who refers to herself as a "nutritional therapist and life coach", denies any fault. The High Court in London ratified the settlement without mention of liability.

Mr Page said yesterday: "She was not obese but Dawn liked to look after her weight. But just days after she started the diet, she began to feel unwell and started vomiting, which the nutritionist said was all part of the detox process. Her life has been seriously affected, perhaps ruined, by this fad-type way of losing weight."

Mrs Page, who had tried a number of diets since the birth of her two sons, was 12 stone when she contacted Ms Nash in late September 2001. On 2 October, Ms Page collapsed in the family home with a grand mal seizure. She was rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon, where doctors diagnosed a shortage of sodium levels in her plasma, which acts as a cushion for the brain. Because the plasma contained such low levels of sodium, water entered the brain, causing permanent damage. Mrs Page now relies on notes to remember basic instructions.

Ms Nash, from Wheatley, Oxfordshire, has a diploma in natural nutrition. She denied she was to blame and the settlement was reached without admission of liability. She was unavailable for comment last night.

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