Complications from ME led to death of teenager | Burton Mail | 31 March 2012

From the ‘Burton Mail’, 31 March 2012.

A TEENAGER who battled with a complex health condition almost her whole life died suddenly at the age of 18, an inquest has heard.

Victoria Webster, of Martins Lane, Hanbury, suffered with a debilitating condition called myalgic encephalopathy (ME) since she was a baby, although she was only officially diagnosed with the condition in 2008, at the age of 14.

An inquest held at Burton Town Hall was told that over the years Victoria and her family faced significant problems with various public bodies and agencies because of the difficulties of diagnosing ME and widespread misunderstanding of the condition.

Victoria had a very severe form of ME which made her hypersensitive to light and noise, to the point that she was bedbound and had to have her bedroom completely in the dark and the windows sound-proofed.

She also suffered with dietary intolerances and had trouble controlling her body temperature.

Her body would often feel extremely painful to the extent where she couldn’t even be touched, clip her nails or brush her hair.

In September, Victoria, who missed the vast majority of her school life because of the condition, had a cordial drink which caused a severe reaction where her whole body became swollen. It took some time for her to recover from the reaction, but she appeared to be making good progress.

Her mother, Kay Webster, who described Victoria as ‘bright and intelligent’, told the hearing: “The night before her death, I stayed in her room to keep a check on her because she was having severe pain in her back and eyes, but in the early hours of the morning on September 22, she started developing breathing difficulties so I called for an ambulance.”

On arrival, medics found Victoria suffering cardiac arrest and she was pronounced dead shortly after at 5.16am.

Victoria’s death was said to have come as a ‘massive shock’ to the whole family.

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