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Infectious Disease

15-year-old girl dies after doctor mistakes tuberculosis for bulimia

An inquest is underway after a 15-year-old girl, who was told by doctors she may have bulimia, died of tuberculosis, the BBC News reported.

The physician who treated Alina Sarag, from Birmingham in the U.K., said her physical symptoms were due to mental health problems.

Alina had previously been diagnosed with TB in 2009 and had appeared to recover from the condition.  However, her health began deteriorating again after a trip to Pakistan in August 2010, according to the BBC News.

Alina’s parents took her to four different hospitals between August and October 2010 as she lost weight and suffered from repeated vomiting.  According to Alina’s father, Sultan Sarag, a doctor told her she was likely suffering from bulimia and should see a psychiatrist or spiritual healer.

“I knew something was not right as she was in such a poor state but couldn't get anyone to listen to me,” Sarag said, adding that the diagnosis of bulimia “totally broke her heart.”

Alina died in January 2011.  The Birmingham Coroner’s Court is currently investigating the case.

Click for more from the BBC News.