Rose Ward, from Connolly Park, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, who died on July 21, 2007, had dropped in weight from 14-and-a-half stone, Sligo Coroner’s Court heard.
The inquest opened in 2009, but was adjourned after Gerry McGovern, solicitor for the family, told coroner Des Moran the girl’s parents had unanswered questions and wanted to know why permission had not been sought from them to force feed her. Ms Ward turned 18 less than three weeks before her death.
Coroner Eamon MacGowan apologised to the family yesterday for the delay in resuming the inquest.
Consultant pathologist, Dr Malcolm Little, who performed the autopsy,
said the anorexic girl was easy prey to bacterial infection and had suffered a fatal lobar pneumonia, a disease commonly associated with malnutrition. He found that the cause of death was pneumonia, due to malnutrition, due to anorexia nervosa.
Mr McGovern said the deceased’s parents, Martin and Kathleen, were just glad to know what happened to her.
Ms Ward died from pneumonia as a result of anorexia. He recorded a “narrative verdict of death by natural causes”.
At the previous hearing, the family’s solicitor said the girl had been admitted to hospital on three occasions in 2007. Her weight had dropped from 14-and-a-half stone to six-and-a-half stone over an 18-month period and she was just three-and-a-half stone when she died. Mr McGovern had asked why consent could not have been sought from her parents in relation to force feeding. The girl’s mother wept as the coroner expressed sympathy to the family. Mr MacGowan said the girl had suffered from a serious debilitating disease. “The poor girl never came out of it,” he said.