Tragic death of St Albans epileptic who strived for perfection

Hatfield Coroner's Court

Hatfield Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

Clinicians were asked at an inquest to explain how an epileptic St Albans woman weighing just under seven stone died following multiple organ failure two days after being readmitted to hospital.

And the death of Poland-born Eliza Zamojda, 33, of Syon Court, on May 13 last year, has prompted a warning about the impact of the fashion industry’s emphasis on “unobtainable perfection”.

At an inquest last Tuesday Herts Coroner Edward Thomas spoke of Eliza’s use of cocaine and heavy drinking.

Dr Ruth Davis, a consultant at Watford Hospital, explained that Eliza was rushed to A&E by ambulance on May 10 after collapsing at home.

Eliza’s heart was beating quickly and she was found to be dehydrated and suffering a urinary tract infection.


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She was hydrated intravenously overnight to help settle her heart rate, and then discharged early the next day - at 6.45am on Sunday, May 11, - with antibiotics for the infection.

But Eliza was suddenly readmitted to hospital just 10 hours later that same day, at 4.50pm, after being found face down on the floor at her home while having a fit and then crawling across the floor, confused.

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At Watford Hospital, Eliza was found to have a high temperature, a swollen face and her heart was beating very quickly.

Blood tests revealed she was suffering a serious infection.

The inquest was told that she had aspirated - meaning that material such as food, drink or the contents of her stomach had entered her lungs, and she had developed pneumonia.

Dr Davis said: “This [aspiration] is potentially very serious because you can develop infections very quickly.”

At about 7pm she deteriorated further, as her oxygen levels decreased and her organs started to fail.

Pathologist Dr Anthony Maddox said both of her lungs were twice the normal weight and she had developed sepsis.

Mr Thomas determined that the primary cause of death was sepsis due to bilateral aspirational pneumonia. Contributing causes were an epileptic fit, and ethanol toxicity.

After the inquest Eliza’s close friend Antony Harris, who had met her about seven years ago and questioned several clinicians in court, said she had suffered bulimia and anorexia.

He criticised the media and the fashion industry for portraying thin models as the ideal, adding, “so many women and men have this desire for unobtainable perfection.

“Eliza never hurt anyone in her life, but herself. She was the kindest, most loving and most empathetic person that I have ever known. It is the saddest of losses.”

Paying tribute to a “beautiful girl” he said his “big concern is why she was discharged at 6.45am on a Sunday”.

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