By SADIE WHITELOCKS
Doctors said that Kate Chilver had one of 'the worst' cases of anorexia they had ever seen
A young woman who died after battling a 16-year eating disorder had one of 'the worst' cases of anorexia doctors had ever seen, an inquest heard today.
Kate Chilver, 31, weighed 4.7 stone and was so thin that parts of her stomach and bowel had ‘died’ through lack of blood supply.
She developed symptoms of the disease aged twelve and spent the rest of her life in specialist medical units until eventually dying from anorexia nervosa.
Doctors revealed that for almost two decades Miss Chilver from Ealing, west London, was dangerously underweight.
A healthy BMI (body mass index) is between 20 and 25 while a reading of less than 15 signals severe anorexia, but hers remained less than 12 and at one stage at fell to just nine.
Dr Frances Connan, a consultant psychologist who treated her at Vincent Square Clinic in south west London, said: 'I’d known Kate since her referral to our service in 2004.
'She had onset anorexia from the age of about 12, her first admission just before she was 15.
'She had the most severe illness of patient I have ever come across.
'At times her BMI went down as low as 9. It’s extremely rare to see a BMI of less than 10.'
Doctors fed her through a tube in a bid to boost her health but all attempts failed.
Over the years she was released twice, both for six month periods, but on both occasions her weight quickly returned to life-threatening levels and she was readmitted to eating disorder units and hospitals.
During the 16-year battle it was reported that Miss Chilver didn’t respond to medication, was unable to 'engage' in psychotherapy and would 'over exercise'.
A post mortem found her heart was less than half the size it should have been, and she weighed less than 30kg or 66lb.
Recording a death of natural causes due to anorexia nervosa, Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox said: 'Dr Connan described her as the most unwell patient she had ever treated.
'A very experienced pathologist, Dr Michael Osborn, said that at the time he performed his examination Kate was the thinnest person he ever had to investigate.'
Miss Chilver tried to hide the extent of her eating disorder while her mother Lynne tried to make life as normal as possible, regularly taking her out on day trips.
But in the days leading up to her death, she started experiencing abdominal discomfort, and crippled by pain was transferred to Chelsea and Westminster hospital on July 10 this year.
Anorexia is the leading cause of mental health-related deaths and Miss Chilver was sectioned under the mental health act, and remained so until the time of her death.
One in every 200 women and one in every 2,000 men is affected and around 5 per cent of sufferers will die from complications caused by malnutrition.