A plea for Andrea – a bed before she is dead

A plea for Andrea – a bed before she is dead

If there is one thing that makes me mad, it is when people-who-should-know-better talk about and treat people living with a mental illness as though they are objects. For an object is how Sydney mother of four, ‘Andrea’, is being treated by people who hold the key to her life. Almost two weeks ago, I wrote about Andrea’s dire need for a hospital bed:

May 25th:

No bed for mother critically ill with anorexia – wrong postcode
A New South Wales mother of four children, aged six to 13, is being denied a hospital bed for treatment of her chronic anorexia nervosa because she has the wrong postcode.

No bed has been provided. The hours are ticking by. The minutes. The seconds. A woman’s life is ebbing away. And the bureaucratic, red tape, game continues. Do we need to run through the streets of Sydney naked to get through to the people in power that a woman’s life is at stake? A woman who is also a wife, mother of four and much loved and respected member of her church and community? Please listen! This woman is not an object to be shoved around on a page and ‘left for another day’ or the ‘too hard basket’. Dear me, no!

I am crying for Andrea as I write this blog. I am praying for her, and her wonderful clinicians in New South Wales who are trying to beat down the walls of bureaucracy to get her into a hospital bed and give her a chance at life. Yes indeed, I am crying at the unfairness of it all. For once I was like Andrea. I was lost, discarded by some. By God’s grace, I met physicians who saved my life. Andrea deserves to be saved too. Andrea is a woman with feelings and a desire to live – like all mothers she wants to watch her children grow into adulthood. She has a will to live. Yes, she does. But Andrea has anorexia. She needs help to fight it. If she had cancer, would she be treated the same? I like to think not.

Andrea’s treating psychologist, Chris Thornton, seeks the public’s voice to help to save his patient’s life. It is time to stand up and shout ‘more hospital beds are needed for people with eating disorders’; more education is needed so that we don’t get dumb-bunny people chock full of their own bureaucratic importance treating the life of Andrea and others like they are a disposable nobody.

The facts this minute:

*AN is a life threatening illness with a high mortality rate.  There are inadequate services in NSW to treat adults in need of intensive care (two beds for more than 7 million).
* Andrea is a hard working mother of four, and an outstanding member of her community and her church.
* Andrea is in a life threatening situation as a result of a 30 year history of anorexia and has been effectively denied treatment at a leading treatment centre by the Department of Health as she has the wrong post code.
*Leading clinicians, including two internationally recognised leaders in the field, have petitioned the Minister for Health to allow treatment “out of area”.
* A psychiatric assessment organised by the Department of Health, has confirmed that Andrea needs specialised treatment and that this can not be provided in her local area.  This assessment insisted on urgent action from the Department of Health within two weeks and advised that the consequences of inaction would be fatal.  That two weeks is up tomorrow.
*To date no action has been taken by the Minister or her Department.
*Andrea’s physical status and hope are diminishing.
I am crying for Andrea. Are you? Please raise your voice and help the NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, respect Andrea for the beautiful human being that she is, and provide a bed for her.

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