'This is the only chance I have to survive': Cork woman fears she will die without inpatient treatment for eating disorder

'This is the only chance I have to survive': Cork woman fears she will die without inpatient treatment for eating disorder

Lisa Murphy, whose family and friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign for private inpatient care to treat her eating disorders

A GOFUNDME campaign has been set up for a Cork woman who fears she will die if she does not get inpatient treatment for an eating disorder.

Lisa Murphy has been battling bulimia and anorexia for over a decade.

She is currently attending an outpatients clinic in Dublin for a series of 20 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy.

After a suicide attempt last March, members of her family published an anonymous account of her daily struggle on social media.

Since then, she spoke anonymously to The Echo on a number of occasions, in a bid to highlight the need for inpatient treatment. 

Her case was also raised in the Dáil.

However, she cannot access inpatient care because she does not have health insurance and she cannot get a referral through the public system for one of only three inpatient beds for eating disorders in the country. Those three beds are in Dublin.

She has now decided to go public, believing it is her only chance at getting treatment.

She said:

“This is the last thing I wanted to do – to put my very private life out there for anyone to read – but it is the only option, the only chance I have of surviving this.” 

Lisa said that in the past year, she has been admitted to hospital emergency departments at least seven times and has had one suicide attempt.

Now, family and friends are rallying around to set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for her private treatment following a recent holiday abroad by Lisa and two of her friends.

Describing Lisa as “one of the bubbliest and friendliest people you could ever meet”, her friends said the horror of her everyday struggles were very evident while on holiday.

On the GoFundMe blurb, they said: “We felt like we were watching her die before our eyes as we could see how unwell she is and the pressure her body is under because it is so badly affected by years of abuse.” 

Lisa is now assured that she will be able to get private inpatient care in a centre in Dublin, over a 12-week programme - if she can pay for it herself.

The cost of an inpatient private place is €60,000.

HSE statement

A spokeswoman for the HSE said the organisation could not comment on individual cases.

She continued that there has been an increase in eating disorder presentations during the pandemic in Ireland and abroad, across all ages.

She added: “Research to date has shown this is due to a combination of factors including : isolation and loneliness with restrictions, food insecurity, anxiety re exposure to frequent Covid related news, exposure to triggering messages including possible lack of food supply to supermarkets, increased carer and family pressures, lack of structure and routine with school closures and home working, and reduced contact with mental health services.” 

And she said: “The three HSE specialist eating disorder teams recorded significant increases in referrals in 2020 compared to 2019 and this trend has continued to rise into 2021. 

"Paediatric and acute hospitals are reporting similar rises in acute presentations of eating disorders and people with eating disorders are presenting more acutely unwell than previously seen.” 

She also said: “Adults who have an eating disorder diagnosis and require inpatient care can be referred to any of the HSE’s acute inpatient mental health-approved centres around the country. Details on approved centres can be found here. 

"Adults presenting with an eating disorder can also be treated in an acute hospital if their physical health needs require this. There are also 3 dedicated beds in St Vincent’s hospital ring-fenced for adults with eating disorders in Community Healthcare East (CHO6).” 

Make a donation

To make a donation to Lisa's GoFundMe, visit: https://tinyurl.com/k9b6raj3 or search 'Help us help our friend Lisa' on GoFundMe.com

Support and helplines:

  • Bodywhys Helpline: 01-2107906 
  • Bodywhys E-mail Support Service: alex@bodywhys.ie 
  • HSE Eating Disorder Self Care App: In March 2019 the HSE has launched the first Self Care App which provides valuable information for those with or people caring for someone with an eating disorder.

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