21 June 2024

This is a media release by Irwin Mitchell, reshared by INQUEST

Hertfordshire Coroner's Court
Opens 24 June 2024
Scheduled to last 13 days

The family of a Hertfordshire teacher who took her own life hope that the second inquest into her death will examine how an eating disorder related to Type 1 Diabetes is treated by healthcare services, and whether lives could be saved by integrated services treating the condition.

Megan Davison, 27, from Cheshunt, died in August 2017. Prior to this, she was suffering from diabulimia, a combination of type-one diabetes and disordered eating, now more accurately known as T1DE. This condition was described in a BBC documentary as ‘the world’s most dangerous eating disorder.’

An inquest in March 2018 concluded the cause of Megan’s death was suicide.  Megan’s family applied for a new inquest to be held to investigate the treatment provided for her T1DE, and the High Court granted the application for a second inquest in September 2022. The second inquest is now due to be heard by HM Assistant Coroner for Hertfordshire, Alison McCormick, over two weeks starting on 24 June 2024. The Coroner’s conclusion is expected to be given between 8 and 10 July 2024.

The Coroner will hear evidence from witnesses who were involved in Megan’s treatment, including staff from the Community Eating Disorder Service and the Community Mental Health Team at Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, from the diabetes team at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, and from The Priory Hospital Hayes Grove, at which Megan spent three months receiving inpatient treatment in the year before her death. 

The inquest will also hear expert evidence from Professor Khalida Ismail, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at King's College London, a leading expert in T1DE. Megan’s family hope that the second inquest will lead to a Report To Prevent Future Deaths by the Coroner in relation to the treatment of T1DE, including about the need for an integrated approach to treatment involving professionals with expertise in diabetes, eating disorders and mental health. 

Megan’s parents, Lesley and Neal Davison, are represented by Oliver Carter, a public law and human rights solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, and Turan Hursit, a specialist barrister at Old Square Chambers.

Oliver Carter said: “The last few years have been incredibly difficult for Lesley and Neal, first losing their beloved daughter and then fighting for a second inquest to fully take into account Megan’s condition.

“While nothing can make up for the pain the family has gone through, we’re determined to help secure them the answers they need to honour Megan’s memory and attempt to move forward with their lives as best they can.”

Lesley Davison said: “When we lost Megan, we were heartbroken. The first inquest did very little to answer our questions or provide any kind of closure, as we feel there wasn’t a sufficient investigation into Megan’s diabulimia and mental health problems.

“We are very thankful to have the opportunity for the impact on Megan of T1DE and the treatment she received to be examined at a fresh inquest. While nothing can change what happened to Megan and bring her back to us, we’re determined to raise awareness of the condition and to push for change within healthcare services to help prevent the deaths of other people like Megan who struggle with Type 1 Diabetes and disordered eating.”

Andrew Radford, Chief Executive of the charity Beat, said: “T1DE is an incredibly dangerous health condition that can have a devastating impact on a person’s mental health and self-esteem. We’re so grateful to the Davison family for raising awareness and helping to improve understanding of T1DE. No family should ever have to lose a loved one to an eating disorder and we hope that the inquiry will help ensure that crucial lessons are learned. 

“If anybody is worried about themselves or a loved one, we’d like to reassure you that support for T1DE is available. Speaking to your GP as soon as possible is the best way to access treatment and you can also speak to Beat 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 for advice. We also help families to access the guidance they need to care for their loved one, whilst looking after their own mental health.”

Deanne Jade, Director of the National Centre for Eating Disorders, said: “It has been known for a long time that people with Type 1 diabetes are at high risk of mis-managing insulin because of weight concerns, often associated with poor blood sugar control.  We believe that it should be mandatory training for eating disorder and other child and adult mental health services to be informed about how to work with someone with diabulimia, now known as T1DE.  These patients need compassionate understanding as well as clinical expertise.  No sufferer in an inpatient service particularly should be left to organize their own diabetes control. 

“It has taken great courage for Megan’s parents to transcend their loss and work tirelessly to raise awareness of this issue, so that sufferers have the confidence that they will be properly cared for.”

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF UK, said: “Its so important to identify the factors contributing to Megan’s death to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.  I’d like to thank the Davison family for their advocacy on T1DE, their bravery in pursuing this inquest and their compelling testimony in the Parliamentary Inquiry into T1DE.”

Luana D’Arco, Caseworker at INQUEST, said: "Megan’s family and their legal team have fought tirelessly for truth and justice.

“It is unjust that a grieving family is still having to fight for this, when the inquest and investigation system should have taken sufficient steps in the first instance.

“This new inquest must now finally establish the full circumstances of Megan’s death and the impact of T1DE on her mental health to help protect others.”

The inquest is scheduled to start on 24 June 2024 at Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court and is due to last until 8-10 July 2024.



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