A woman with a potentially life-threatening eating disorder who visited a hospital in Clarenville, Newfoundland, says a nurse told her to “go get some supper and come back” to the emergency room if she felt more ill.
Carla Lamb, 31, suffers from anorexia and bulimia, and had a relapse last week. She spoke to a counselor at the Eating Disorder Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, who told her to go look for help at Cross Memorial Hospital.
"I was in a lot of pain, physically and mentally. I was ready to start cutting myself and needed to speak to somebody ... and I needed to know that I was safe. I didn't feel safe," Lamb told CBC News.
A nurse at the hospital in Clarenville didn’t see any injuries, so she told Lamb to go get something to eat and come back to the ER if she still didn’t feel well.
"She said, 'We've got five more people that definitely are ahead of you. Can you go get some supper and come back?' I don't want supper; I am here for an eating disorder. I'm hungry, and I told you that, but it doesn't mean that I can eat," she said.
Lamb said if it weren’t for her husband's support when she came back home, she would have developed an urge to hurt herself.
An eating disorder, according to The Western Star, is a mental health issue and mainly affects people between the ages of 12 and 24, with women comprising about 80 percent of sufferers.
Lamb only weighs approximately 70 pounds and has been on leave for four years from working as a massage therapist.
“I have anorexia and bulimia,” she said. “With that came a lot of other physical and mental problems. It's so important that mental health, eating disorders, these things are all as painful and cause as much internal damage. Look at my liver, all these things, it's not OK. I can't see the ribs in my back right now. For some reason that was a pride for me that you could see that. There need to be the right people at the front line to help.”