Eating disorders on the wards
Anna Crane and colleagues guide you through two common yet often misconstrued medical conditions in adolescents
- By: Anna Crane, Janet Treasure, Sharon McConville
Picture this. Rebecca, a final year medical student, approaches an elderly patient on her ward. She has been asked to replace a cannula. They chat while Rebecca touches the woman's arm, deciding on a vein. To the woman, Rebecca's hands feel cold and bony. She looks at them. They are blue. Their faces are close. The woman sees Rebecca's pallid skin, her dark circled eyes, and what appears to be muscle fibres stretched across her hollow cheeks. She compares their arms as the cannula slips in-prominent veins; peeling skin; and fine, long hair. Rebecca finishes, thanks her, and walks away. The woman stares at her profile-her width, her lack of curves and shape-protruding bones, visible ribs, and a head that seems too large for its body.
Shocked? Well, how about this. Zoe drops into Tesco on her way home from the hospital. On returning to her flat she's ravenous. She