Name: Emily Titterington
Died: February 8, 2013
Age at death: 16
Cause of death: Heart attack secondary to untreated constipation.
Location: St. Austell, Cornwall, England, UK
Sixteen-year-old Emily was home-schooled. Her older sister had contacted social services, concerned that Emily’s home was not a safe place and that “something terrible might happen” to Emily. Her case was known to seven agencies.
Emily had severe constipation related to a phobia and unspecified bowel problems; her parents tried to treat it with homeopathy and “distance healing” but did not persuade her to go to a hospital.
Had a doctor examined her closely, it would have saved her life. After 8 weeks without a bowel movement, Emily died of a heart attack.
An inquest reported that “‘the voice of the child was not heard or accessible’ and no professional knew what Emily herself ‘thought would help her most in life’.”
Editor’s note: While I was researching this case, I was infuriated to notice that practically every news story about Emily’s death was decorated with a photo of a toilet. Really, now? A sixteen-year-old girl is dead, and the press tells the story accompanied constantly by pictures of toilets. How very mature of them.
Autistic girl, 16, with a phobia of using toilets died from a heart attack
“Long term failures” to blame for death of constipated teen
Constipated girl Emily Titterington from Cornwall died because care was resisted
Emily Titterington death: Voice ‘not heard’ by agencies