Local officials in the United Kingdom have launched an investigation regarding the death of a young girl with autism due to heart complications brought about by constipation.
Sixteen-year-old Emily Titterington died at her home in St. Austell, Cornwall in Feb. 8, 2013 after suffering a heart attack believed to have been caused by her constipation.
Titterington had a phobia of using toilets and would often withhold her stools for up to two months. This caused her bowels to become enlarged, causing her chest cavity to compress and displace her other organs.
According to reports, Titterington had refused to use the toilet for eight weeks the day she died.
An inquest launched at the Truro City Hall heard how Titterington's life could have been saved with adequate treatment, but that the young girl had refused to seek medical help for her condition.
Hannah Herbert, Titterington's older sister, recalled during the proceeding how their mother told her that her younger sister had refused to use the toilet for six to eight weeks on the day she died. She said their mother was not alarmed by it because she thought it was routine of Titterington to do so.
Herbert added that she had contacted the local social services regarding Titterington's condition because she was afraid something terrible could happen to her sister if she was left in the same environment.
Dr. Alistair James, Titterington's attending physician, said that the girl's mother, Geraldine, had tried to convince her daughter to have a medical examination but she refused.
James told the city coroner that he had prescribed laxatives to Titterington but he was not able to examine her abdomen.
He said that if he had been able to do so, Titterington's death could have been prevented with the appropriate treatment.
Titterington's brother-in-law, Brian Herbert, revealed to the inquest how the family tried to use several forms of remedies to address the young girl's bowel condition. He said they tried giving her homeopathic pills and even conducted a Body Talk, which is believed to be one form of "distance healing."
The inquest at the Truro City Hall is expected to conclude on Wednesday.
Photo: Laura Ritchie | Flickr