Help me, I'm starving to death. Six stone woman with paralysed stomach is refused life-saving operation

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:20 PM on 11th July 2011
Comments (13)

A young woman who is starving to death after being diagnosed with a paralysed stomach has been told that NHS bosses refuse to fund an operation to save her.

Rudi Hargreaves, 22, has shrunk from a healthy 10st to a skeletal 5st 10lb after being diagnosed with the crippling condition last year.

Within weeks of being diagnosed with gastroparesis, Rudi found her size 12 clothes were hanging off her - as her stomach became unable to digest food at a normal rate.

People think I'm anorexic: Rudi was diagnosed with a paralysed stomach and is appealing a decision by her PCT not to fund a pacemaker

The condition can be treated with a £14,000 operation to fit a gastric pacemaker - although this is still considered to be an experimental treatment.

But health chiefs have refused to fund the surgery, saying 'insufficient supporting information' has been provided by her GP.

Rudi, who is now so frail she has been forced to give up her job as a teaching assistant, has now appealed against the medics' decision.

Rudi, from Hull, East Yorks, said: 'This operation would give me my life back. I don't have a life at the minute.

'I have so little energy that I pass out all the time. I'm confined to a wheelchair for most of the day.

'All I want is my old life back and I can't believe that the NHS is refusing me the operation.

'I just find it so infuriating when I hear about overweight people being given gastric bands on the NHS.

'I know they have their problems too, but there's nothing I can do about my weight. It feels like it's a case of double standards.'

Rudi was in the final year of a degree in psychology at Liverpool University in April last year when she began feeling nauseous, constantly full and started to lose weight.

After finishing her degree, she returned to Hull, and began working as a teaching assistant.

But she was forced to leave her job after just a few weeks as her weight and energy levels continued to plummet.

Her stomach - which takes 10 times longer than normal to digest food - is now incapable of digesting solid food altogether, and Rudi has to survive on milkshakes loaded with vitamins and nutrients she needs to survive.

One year ago: Rudi was a healthy size 12 before she started experiencing nausea and uncontrollable vomiting

Rudi added: 'I had always been a very happy size 12 - but now I have to buy a size six, and the clothes hang off me.

'It's awful not being able to eat anything. If I even try to eat food these days, I bring it straight back up again.

'I've lost so much weight everyone I meet thinks I am anorexic.

'I have no energy - I just want to go back to being my old self.'

Rudi's mother, Lynn Hargraves, 44, said: 'She used to be a healthy, happy girl, now she looks like a little old lady.'

A spokesperson for NHS Hull said: 'To date, the application in question has not been agreed as, crucially, insufficient supporting information has been provided to allow due consideration to take place.

'Any requested procedures must also fall in line with the provider trust's priorities for service development and delivery.

'The patient's clinician has been invited to provide the necessary clarification, receipt of which should enable the patient's case to be progressed within the PCT.' ... ation.html