Son killed by eating disorder

Maria Breslin
Thursday 05 November 1998 00:02 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


THE PARENTS of a talented teenager who died of an eating disorder appealed for more help yesterday for people like their son.

Enid and Richard Williams were speaking after an inquest in Chester into the death of James Williams, 19. He was found dead in his flat in the city on June 11 by police who broke in after his mother could get no answer and raised the alarm.

"It's not going to do anything for me," said Mr Williams, a retired steelworker of Buckley, North Wales. "The fact is that I have lost him. But if this happens to any other lad it's a problem and it is such a shame."

The hearing heard how their son enjoyed a normal childhood with no major ailments or illnesses. He was academically ahead of his age group at Hawarden High School, and gained an "A" grade at GSCE English language when he was only 14. He was said to be destined for Oxford and was an accomplished swimmer, rugby and tennis player.

But soon after he was 14 he was diagnosed as having a virus that was, according to his father, the debilitating disease ME. At 17 James went to live in Chester. He had lost a lot of weight and was treated for anorexia and depression when he arrived in the city. He was prescribed potassium replacement tablets to combat the effects of his disease.

A report of the post-mortem examination said the cause of death was acute cardiac failure associated with anorexia or bulimia. "This patient had a very low plasma potassium level, which was probably the result of anorexia or bulimia. The level was so low as to be potentially lethal due to its effect on the heart."

A verdict of misadventure was recorded by the Coroner, John Hibbert.

Mr Williams criticised doctors and said: "My son would have been alive today if the doctors had said to me, `Your son is seriously ill'."

Mr Hibbert recommended that the family take up the matter with the doctors and seek legal advice.

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