Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ANOREXIA & BULIMIA: CATENA DI MAURO, ANOTHER TRAGIC DEATH...(Updated with a comment from PAOLO DI MAURO, Catena's twin brother)

anorexia, bulimia, Catena DiMauro
Catena Di Mauro with her father Frank on her 18th birthday
(January 5/07)
Photo by Jacky Ghossein


I received the following comment today from Paolo Di Mauro, Catena's twin brother . It is heartbreaking...

"My name is Paolo . And im the twin brother of catena .. Its been very hard and no words can even come close to describe to you how im feeling at this present time. I witnessed my sister slowly but surely deteriorate over her 7 years battle with this dieses. Not only did my sister have to fight her own demons she was also fighting the Hospital staff off how they were treating her and acting towards her . My father was standing up for her rights and making sure she was looked after.. Once the Hospital realized this . They simple treated my sister worse and not only that .. They showed no respect towards my father constantly wanting to take guardianship away from him . Not allowing me or my father to see catena which would drive her insane. They caused more problems to catena which in the long run made her worse caused stress upon my family as well.

On more then lets say 30- 40 occasions because that how many times it accrued catena was sent home only if her blood test results were cleared . Upon say 4-5 hours later catena would either have kidney failure. Faint, heart pains. We would rush her back and she would then have another blood test and the result would be that she is unstable . So why did the Doctors or nurses send her home in the first place . This wasn’t on one occasion this happened. It accrued so many times when they sent her home saying she was OK . And then couple hours later her life would be at risk . My optioned is they simple tired to get RIDD of her.

They gave her a room. With a bathroom in there .. So she could be privileged and in my eyes encouraged to purge . that’s like giving an alcoholic keys to a pub across the road they aren’t helping the situation . They would let her eat Orally and then she would obviously go and purge it up . With Ease .. Shortly after the nurse would approach her and say. Catena because you have thrown up you must have a supplement popper drink to replace what she has just thrown up. Catena would say No they would ask another 3-4 times she would say no . then they would give her the OPTION of having the tube. Anyone one would say No to that .. So then you ask what happens .. They simple put her away in a room no padded walls. Nothing a isolated dark room. Were shed be in there crying for hours like it was detention . NOW Is this how you treat this .. Look everyone this is just like off the top of my head one incident but let me assure you there is SO SO many more incidents that have happened like this or not even worse.

This is a mental disease which becomes physical. And what people I think forget is that they treat the physical more than the mental . How can my sister or anyone get better if they are only attempting to treat the physical part of the disorder. They can never succeed unless the person brain starts to function normally . Which would involve intense counselling continuously and attack the real problem which is in the brain under depression . Once they can start to handle that the person would slowly get better on the physical state .and overall recover . Otherwise these nurses and doctors are just simple going to go wrong again and cost more lives. By just tackling the physical part of the disorder the person is going to become like a balloon he/she weight will just plunder Up and down .And this cannot help that person in a physical way and mental way.

Something needs to be done Now. Its gone on for far to long. Enough is enough how many lives and families need to be scared before people start to realize that they need proper facilities and doctors treating this disease.

Paolo Di Mauro"


Paolo, my heart breaks for you and your father. What a horrific experience you both have been through. Please accept my sincerest condolences on the loss of your dear sister.

The points you make in your message are so true. It is imperative people suffering from eating disorders receive psychological help. Without that, recovery is impossible.

Many thanks for taking the time to write, Paolo. Again, my deepest sympathy on the loss of Catena.

May you and your father find peace...

Medusa
xoxo

~~~~~~~~~~
Original post:

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
by Caroline Marcus
January 14, 2007:

"Frank Di Mauro did not know if his only daughter would live to see her 18th birthday. Her body ravaged by anorexia and bulimia, Catena Di Mauro weighed just 28 kilograms as the January 5 milestone approached.

Her six-year obsession with starving and purging herself had reduced her to a skeleton, and left her father exhausted from battling the public health system.

In a rare moment of hope, Mr Di Mauro took Catena out of the psychiatric ward of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and home to Lilyfield to mark her birthday. Days later she was rushed back to the cardiology ward, where she remained last night, dangerously ill, her weight having fallen to 26 kilograms, the equivalent of an average eight-year-old.

"She could have a heart attack at any time," Mr Di Mauro said. "It is heartbreaking for me."

When Catena was 12, her mother's death from kidney failure triggered a terrible obsession in the previously happy girl, whose 63-kilogram body began to waste away.

Her father began finding food hidden in the house and garden. Catena began to exercise obsessively in her room and run up huge bills at the corner store, buying food to binge eat then vomit up. Despite Catena's rapid weight loss and disturbing habits, Mr Di Mauro said doctors refused to hospitalise her, telling him she was "not sick enough".

At 14, she became sick enough. She was taken out of school and admitted to the Children's Hospital at Westmead. When she turned 15, her father said he was told she could no longer be treated in the children's unit and would have to be admitted to an adult psychiatric ward at RPA. The aim was for her to put on one to two kilograms. Instead, her weight plunged to 30 kilograms. The next year, her father says, a male patient attempted to rape her.

Despite occasional signs of improvement, her condition has always later deteriorated, culminating in a coma last year.

"It is nearly a year to the day that she was dying in John Hunter Hospital [in Newcastle] and here we are in the same scenario again," Mr Di Mauro said. "She can't hang on much longer like that."

What distresses him most is that doctors refused to readmit Catena when she was an already alarming 36 kilograms in September; it was not until Boxing Day that staff decided she could be hospitalised.

"The system has failed, as far as my daughter is concerned," Mr Di Mauro said. "Our children are just slowly dying away in the background and nobody knows about it.

"It's just amazing that a big state like NSW is the worst for anorexia. There is just nothing out there for these kids.

"I don't want to give up on Catena because I know she can be helped."

An invalid pensioner, Mr Di Mauro said he asked NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos to pay for his daughter to be treated at a private hospital. The minister had replied that the hospital in question did not have the resources his daughter required, he said.

Mr Hatzistergos wrote to Mr Di Mauro last month to advise that Sydney South West Area Health Service would arrange an external review of his daughter's treatment plan, but Mr Di Mauro said he had heard nothing since.

A worldwide charter for eating disorders is set to be launched here next month.
Jan Cullis, head of the Bronte Foundation, an eating disorders charity, said there was a lot of dissatisfaction about treatments in Australia."


And this sad update on Catena published last week in The Daily Telegraph...

by Kate Sikora
February 11, 2009:

Catena DiMauro, anorexia, bulimia Catena Di Mauro and her father, Frank



"As Catena Di Mauro left her grandmother's home last week, she whispered the words "You remember I love you".

They were the last words she said to her family before she lost a seven-year battle with anorexia nervosa.

The 20-year-old Sydney woman died on Saturday, her frail body weighing just 32kg. Her ordeal of starving and purging was witnessed by her twin brother Paolo and father Frank, who yesterday paid tribute to his brave daughter.

Catena's obsession with food was triggered by the death of her mother when she was 11.

Becoming depressed, the young girl quickly began to lose weight.

By the time she began high school, she was hiding food and her healthy 63kg body began wasting away.

But despite pleas to doctors that his daughter was sick, Mr Di Mauro was told she "was not sick enough".

It was not until she was 15 that she was admitted to an adult psychiatric ward at Royal Prince Alfred. Her ravaged body withered away to 26kg, the equivalent of an eight-year-old.

While Catena, whose funeral is on Friday, fought her own demons, her invalid father took on the health system and government.

Unable to watch his daughter waste away in a hospital, Mr Di Mauro waged a public fight for adequate treatment centres to be built.

Even through his grief yesterday, he pledged to keep campaigning.

In NSW there are 500 cases of anorexia each year and 20 per cent die."



“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

~Norman Cousins

Rest in peace, Catena...


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24 comments:

Princess Dieter said...

I look at those pics and my heart breaks for that dear, loving father. Oh, man. Awful.

I think you're doing a great thing bringing attention to this disorder which is killing these lovely young girls and shattering families.

Sue said...

Its terrible to see younger and younger girls becoming anorexic but I think its more than an emotional issue - there must be nutritional deficiencies involved here.

I was speaking to a psychologist who said that he believes nutritional deficiencies are a major cause of anorexia. But this is not acknowledged by mental health practitioners who just provide counselling and don't consider nutritional factors.

In his experience treating anorexia, he found counselling only moderately helpful. Counselling will not help if there is a biochemical reason. Some studies have certainly demonstrated amino acid imbalances in anorexics.

Heart Of The Dark said...

@Sue

I can`t imagine that nutritional deficiencies are the cause of any eating disorder. What should they cause? Loss of appetite?
An eating disorder means that you have demons in your head which run to down all the time. The weight loss is only a symtom of your problems, a cry for help, love and attention.
I can feel it every day how hurts affect on me and the view of myself. And I had lots of them the last time and starving eases this bad feelings. Having control about my weight and food intake makes me feel less beeing a complete failure. I starve because i cannot cope otherwise with things that hurt me deeply.
If anyone is interested in real good information or knows someone who is suffering, please visit www.something-fishy.org .The research about eating disorders is excellent, I visit everytime when I need the feeling to be understood.
And it hurts very, very deeply if people say that your problem is not real. No one who didn`t go through it can really understand your mental suffering, even if he is trying it as good as he can.

Sue said...

I'm talking about amino acid deficiencies which can be implicated in anorexia.

The feelings you have may not just be emotional but a biochemical cause.

Heart Of The Dark said...

I also believe that the are biochemical causes involved, but not from amino acid imbalances. I didn`t find anything in the net about it relating to anorexia, only to the immune system. Low serotonine levels can cause a lot of negative feelings and are common in anorexics. I`m taking antidepressants, my mood is better and my anxieties are less, but they don`t stop me from rectricting and having negative thoughts. But at least better than nothing.
And why should anorexics don`t have amino acid imbalances - they are malnourished.
I´m very sceptical about this.

Everything or Nothing said...

My name is Paolo . And im the twin brother of catena .. Its been very hard and no words can even come close to describe to you how im feeling at this present time. I witnessed my sister slowly but surely deteriorate over her 7 years battle with this dieses. Not only did my sister have to fight her own demons she was also fighting the Hospital staff off how they were treating her and acting towards her . My father was standing up for her rights and making sure she was looked after.. Once the Hospital realized this . They simple treated my sister worse and not only that .. They showed no respect towards my father constantly wanting to take guardianship away from him . Not allowing me or my father to see catena which would drive her insane. They caused more problems to catena which in the long run made her worse caused stress upon my family as well.

On more then lets say 30- 40 occasions because that how many times it accrued catena was sent home only if her blood test results were cleared . Upon say 4-5 hours later catena would either have kidney failure. Faint, heart pains. We would rush her back and she would then have another blood test and the result would be that she is unstable . So why did the Doctors or nurses send her home in the first place . This wasn’t on one occasion this happened. It accrued so many times when they sent her home saying she was OK . And then couple hours later her life would be at risk . My optioned is they simple tired to get RIDD of her.

They gave her a room. With a bathroom in there .. So she could be privileged and in my eyes encouraged to purge . that’s like giving an alcoholic keys to a pub across the road they aren’t helping the situation . They would let her eat Orally and then she would obviously go and purge it up . With Ease .. Shortly after the nurse would approach her and say. Catena because you have thrown up you must have a supplement popper drink to replace what she has just thrown up. Catena would say No they would ask another 3-4 times she would say no . then they would give her the OPTION of having the tube. Anyone one would say No to that .. So then you ask what happens .. They simple put her away in a room no padded walls. Nothing a isolated dark room. Were shed be in there crying for hours like it was detention . NOW Is this how you treat this .. Look everyone this is just like off the top of my head one incident but let me assure you there is SO SO many more incidents that have happened like this or not even worse.

This is a mental disease which becomes physical. And what people I think forget is that they treat the physical more than the mental . How can my sister or anyone get better if they are only attempting to treat the physical part of the disorder. They can never succeed unless the person brain starts to function normally . Which would involve intense counselling continuously and attack the real problem which is in the brain under depression . Once they can start to handle that the person would slowly get better on the physical state .and overall recover . Otherwise these nurses and doctors are just simple going to go wrong again and cost more lives. By just tackling the physical part of the disorder the person is going to become like a balloon he/she weight will just plunder Up and down .And this cannot help that person in a physical way and mental way.

Something needs to be done Now. Its gone on for far to long. Enough is enough how many lives and families need to be scared before people start to realize that they need proper facilities and doctors treating this disease.

Paolo Di Mauro

Medusa said...

Paolo, my heart breaks for you and your father. What a horrific experience you both have been through. Please accept my sincerest condolences on the loss of your dear sister.

Your message is important, Paolo. I am going to update my post on Catena with your comments so that they will be more visible to readers.

Many thanks for taking the time to write, Paolo. Again, my deepest sympathy on the loss of Catena.

May you and your father find peace...

Medusa
xoxo

Sue said...

Paolo, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Heart of the Dark, serotonin is produced from the amino acid tryptophan.

Anonymous said...

I was one of catena's best friends in highschool.. i still remember the teachers moving us away from eachother cause we could not stop talking... catena i still have the letters you wrote to me in year 8 and the pictures we took.. catena i will never forget you .. even though your not here with us you will always be in my heart and prayers..

cant wait to see you again

Anonymous said...

anon... please take care.. for some reason your comment touched me enough to respond. you deserve to live also....

Anonymous said...

People who have no medical training should not be offering advise about treatment of anorexia.
Yes tryptophan is an amino acid that is involved in serotonin synthesis. No depleted tryptophan has never been linked to anorexia. If there was a simple treatment for anorexia we would not be all here talking.

Anonymous said...

hey medusa, i always read about the dangers of anorexia and bulimia in your blog. but, i never hear you complaining about how deadly and dangerous obesity is, or if compulsive over eating is listed as an eating disorder. why should the urge to be thin get the blame? being over weight isn't as healthy as being under weight.

Medusa said...

Anonymous, you're absolutely correct. I haven't addressed compulsive overeating or obesity but have planned for a long time to do so.

It's time I did. Thanks for the wake-up call ;^)

Anonymous said...

Dear Medusa

I would to leave a parting comment about Catena see changed my life I had a close friendship with Catena while see was in the RPA hospital, I sore first hand how see was abused they would only let her used the phone three times a week and they lock her up in the worst way posible, I also saw how the staff would not let her Dad in to see her he was not allowed in the unit she was in. When she was moved to out of RPA the staff there would not pass on my phone calls
The things I remeber most about Cat was see had a heart of gold, and the face of a angel she would lighten up my day and most people around her,I miss her, I hope you have gone to a better place Cat
With all my love Glenn Hoare

Medusa said...

Glenn, what a lovely, touching comment.

Thank you for sharing how Catena touched your life.

Medusa
xoxo

Anonymous said...

Reading this story was absolutely heart breaking.
I have an 18 year old twin sister who is currently suffering from this disease.

She is 176cm and weights in at around 40kgs, which is in comparison to her previous weight which was around 62kgs.

I also live in NSW (Newcastle to be exact) and this families story of complete failure by the NSW health system is not shocking, but also terrifying to think that these people in the future could treat my sister. Also as a nursing student I feel such disgust towards my future field of work.
Paolo and Frank, I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. No family should have to be treated in such a disgusting manner especially not in times of such great need when you should have been able to rely on these health 'professionals' for guidance and support.

My heart goes out to you.
Sincerely Steph E

Anonymous said...

catena was a beautiful girl, she always had something amazing to say about everybody if only she saw how amazing she was herself she was such a gorgeous girl and she will be missed dearly rest in peace baby girl your always in my heart <3

Ella said...

I am very desperate to get in contact with Paolo DiMauro or Catena's father Frank. Having also been treated at RPA, I feel that something needs to be done.

I also have a petition currently running for NSW Health, trying to get more funding & beds for treatment (there are currently only 2 state-wide beds in the state of NSW). If you'd like to sign it, please find it here.

http://www.change.org/petitions/nsw-health-it-s-time-to-provide-adequate-care-for-eating-disorders-patients-in-nsw

Ella said...

I am very desperate to get in contact with Paolo DiMauro or Catena's father Frank. Having also been treated at RPA, I feel that something needs to be done.

I also have a petition currently running for NSW Health, trying to get more funding & beds for treatment (there are currently only 2 state-wide beds in the state of NSW). If you'd like to sign it, please find it here.

http://www.change.org/petitions/nsw-health-it-s-time-to-provide-adequate-care-for-eating-disorders-patients-in-nsw

Anonymous said...

Hi this is Frank catenas dad i know what your saying about the beds i was told they got new funding for extra beds but my advice is if you need good treatment for this disease you need to go overseas to Sweden were they have special clinics and better care. If you want to talk further ring the editor of the sun herald Caroline markas how can put you through to me.

Medusa said...

Frank, thanks so much for writing. I have alerted Ella that you have responded to her comment.

All the best to you,

Medusa

Ella said...

Hi Frank (& thank you Medusa),
I have been in contact with Caroline Marcus & Janie Barrett. Neither have your contact details anymore, hence why I attempted to contact you through this blog.

My email is ellavictoria.graham@gmail.com - please send me an email.
Ella.

Amy (from APL) said...

I am a friend of Catena's father, Frank. I knew him a few years back before Catena lost her fight. I lost count of how many times the poor man would tell me of the horrors young Catena went through. My heart broke when the news came.

This is a message to Frank.

Frankie, its Amy. Joe and I miss you dearly. I often think of you, and wonder how your long fight is going. Im sorry time and years made us lose contact. Should you need a friend, please contact me.(amy_harmer@hotmail.com)We love and miss you, Frankie. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Que tristeza que pasen estas cosas,y mas aun triste y aberrante somos nosotros como sociedad,en donde la superficialidad,los estereotipos y la vanidad,han hecho presas a nuestros jóvenes..la sociedad somos los asesinos silenciosos,desde que empezamos a discriminar y a poner etiquetas a los seres humanos,como "gordo" "feo"...cuanto daño podemos hacer con nuestras palabras,. :'(