Discharged B.C. anorexia patient wins treatment

A B.C. woman with chronic anorexia nervosa who was discharged from a B.C. treatment program despite failing health will get treatment that could save her life at an Alberta facility.
Amber Foster, shown here in healthier times (left) and this year (right), is among a dozen adults with eating disorders who say they were discharged from a B.C. treatment program despite failing health. (CBC)

A B.C. woman with chronic anorexia nervosa who was discharged from a B.C. treatment program despite failing health will get treatment that could save her life at an Alberta facility.

Amber Foster, a 30-year-old from Comox, was discharged from the eating disorder program at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver two months ago, despite weighing only 80 pounds.

Since then, Foster has lost four more pounds and now suffers from refeeding syndrome, which means eating food can put her at risk of a hypoglycemic coma. Last week, she had her third heart attack.

But on Thursday, following a CBC report revealing Foster's condition, the Ministry of Health confirmed that British Columbia will cover the cost of Foster's long-term treatment at a facility in Edmonton, Alta. for at least two months.

She attributed the province's turnaround to the CBC News investigation and said she was looking forward to leaving for the treatment centre on Monday.

[IMAGEGALLERY galleryid=1520 size=small]

"I felt like I was being sent home to die. I have a son and I might not see him grow up. If there's a chance I can live and there is a cure for this, why shouldn't I have the right to take advantage of that?" said Foster.

CBC News found that Foster was one of at least a dozen adult patients with eating disorders to have been discharged from  the eating disorder clinic at St. Paul's Hospital despite failing health.

They say they are being denied treatment because they have been labelled chronic cases, but the hospital says their decisions have been made according to stringent criteria.