Lucy Rickard, WA Today.com.au, April 20, 2011:
A Perth woman battling chronic fatigue syndrome was committed to the locked ward of Fremantle Hospital after an attempt to euthanise herself in a desperate bid to address her crippling condition.
Theda Myint, 34, has grappled with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) – better known as chronic fatigue syndrome – for 11 years. The condition has left her bedridden with crippling migraines, severe body pain and an extremely low tolerance to light and noise.
She and her mother, Carol Adams, have campaigned to raise awareness of the condition, which they say is commonly misunderstood in the medical world.
The pair have also lobbied the state government to subsidise her medical treatments, which they say must be administered in the home due to the debilitating nature of her condition, but their requests have so far been rebuffed.
Ms Myint was rushed to hospital by ambulance last Wednesday after attempting to end her life for the third time in five weeks.
Her mother Carol Adams said ambulance, emergency and intensive care staff were "fantastic" in treating her debilitating ME pain, and it wasn't until she was transferred to one of the hospital's medical wards that things took a turn for the worst.
Ward staff informed Ms Adams that they would not be able to provide food for her daughter due to her intolerances to potatoes, gluten, eggs, lactose and legumes brought on by her condition. In desperation, the family was forced to turn to highly processed food from a vending machine after Ms Myint went without food for two days.
While on the medical ward, a psychiatrist reviewed her case in light of her suicide attempt and made the decision to move her onto a locked ward, rescinding her rights and placing doctors in full control of her wellbeing.
"She was in so much pain. As soon as she was put in the locked ward, her ME needs were not being met," Ms Adams said. "She was in a nine out of 10 for pain, and she was being refused treatment for that.
"She asked to have a hot bath or shower to ease her pain, and she was told she couldn't because it would disturb the other patients.
"She asked to see another doctor, and she was refused. She then asked to be taken back to emergency, and that was also refused because she was in the psychiatric ward."
It was then that Ms Adams appealed to WAtoday.com.au for help. After a call was placed by this website to the hospital on Saturday morning, Ms Myint began getting the treatment she required and that afternoon she was released from hospital.
"It was only in desperation that we contacted the media, as our requests to the hospital had been refused," Ms Adams said. Read more>>