Health chiefs 'launch investigation into Nikki Grahame's death'

Health chiefs ‘launch an investigation into the death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame, 38,’ after claims by her family that she was released too early from her anorexia treatment

  • Nikki Grahame, 38, was found dead at London home a day after hospital release
  • She left Dorset County Hospital on April 9, after receiving treatment for anorexia
  • The Big Brother star said to have weighed less than five stone at time of release
  • The hospital trust has now vowed to launch a ‘full investigation’, reports the Sun 

Health chiefs have today launched an investigation into the death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame, after claims by her family that she was released too early from hospital.

The 38-year-old died in her London home earlier this month less than 24 hours after she was released from the care of doctors, who had been treating her for anorexia.

The reality TV star had been at Dorset County Hospital, in Dorchester, for three weeks before being released on April 9.

She was found dead the following day. She is said to have weighed less than five stone when she left the hospital.

And sources close to Nikki later claimed the star would ‘still be alive today if she wasn’t discharged too soon’.

Now Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust, the trust which runs the hospital where the star had received treatment prior to her death, have launched a review into the case, according to the Sun.

Health chiefs have today launched an investigation into the death of Big Brother star Nikki Grahame (pictured in 2019), after claims by family members that she was released too early from hospital

Family: The late Big Brother star spent three weeks in Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester before she left on April 9 (pictured with her mother Sue)

Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust, the trust which runs the hospital (pictured) where the star had received treatment prior to her death, have launched a review into the case, according to the Sun

What is anorexia?  

Anorexia is a serious mental illness where a person restricts their food intake, which often causes them to be severely underweight.

Many also exercise excessively.

Some sufferers may experience periods of bingeing, followed by purging. 

Sufferers often have a distorted view of themselves and think they are larger than they really are.

Untreated, patients can suffer loss of muscle and bone strength, as well as depression, low libido and menstruation ceasing in women.

In severe cases, patients can experience heart problems and organ damage.

Behavioural signs of anorexia include people saying they have already eaten or will do later, as well as counting calories, missing meals, hiding food and eating slowly.

As well as weight loss, sufferers may experience insomnia, constipation, bloating, feeling cold, hair loss, and swelling of the hands, face and feet.

Treatment focuses on therapy and self-help groups to encourage healthy eating and coping mechanisms.

Source: Beat Eating Disorders

A spokesperson for the hospital told the paper: ‘Staff at the Trust were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Miss Grahame, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Miss Grahame at this very difficult time.

‘A full internal investigation into the circumstances of Miss Grahame’s death is currently underway.

‘This is in line with standard procedures following any sudden death.’ 

It comes after family members raised fears about Nikki’s release from hospital earlier this month.

A source told The Sun: ‘Those close to Nikki feel she would be alive today if she wasn’t discharged so soon.

‘Her family feel she wasn’t strong enough physically to care for herself. It’s left them shocked and heartbroken.’

MailOnline last night contacted the trust for a comment.

Nikki, who shot to fame on reality TV show Big Brother in 2006, had struggled with anorexia for much of her life and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at age 12. 

She was force-fed through a tube in hospital as a child and had caused long-term damage to her oesophagus from years of purging her food.

Last week, Nikki’s friends reactivated a fundraiser to help her heartbroken family pay for her funeral and help others with eating disorders.

The fundraiser was initially set up a month ago by Nikki’s friends and raised £65,000 for the Big Brother star to have specialist treatment for her eating disorder.

She was due to have private treatment, having previously been treated on the NHS. 

Her friends posted the following message on her page: ‘We just wanted to let you know that we are turning donations back on for anyone that would like to make a donation in Nikki’s memory, as lots of people have been asking if they can still donate. 

‘It’s been really, really hard’: Her mother Sue recently claimed her daughter’s 30-year battle with anorexia worsened because of the coronavirus pandemic (pictured together) 

Statement: The Big Brother icon died just one month after her friends started a GoFundMe page for anorexia treatment

‘An amount will be used for the funeral costs and the remaining funds will be used to go towards an organisation that helps those suffering with eating disorders, the crucial funding that has been lacking to help people in these awful situations has not been addressed, we will use this money to the best of our ability to try and stem this horrific, debilitating illness.

‘We also would like to thank people who have sent private messages with lovely words about Nikki, she would be so thankful.’

The charity hasn’t yet been selected but tributes and donations continued to pour in from heartbroken fans.

It comes after it was revealed Nikki’s loved ones believed her health was improving ahead of her tragic death – leaving them in total shock. 

Nikki also assured her friends she was ‘all good’ in a harrowing final Facebook post just before she entered a hospital for her eating disorder.

An insider explained that due to a lack of beds Nikki had been discharged and was due to attend a specialist clinic but tragically never made it.

The source told MailOnline: ‘She was discharged from a general hospital where she’d been for three weeks [but] there wasn’t a bed available on an eating disorder unit, NHS or private…

Iconic: Nikki became a Big Brother icon when she appeared on the reality show in 2006

‘They deemed her well enough after she’d put on weight and was in good spirits…

‘Her loved ones pleaded with them not to as she wasn’t ready and was then supposed to enter a private outpatient clinic from this Monday, she sadly never got to and died within 24 hours of leaving hospital.’

Nikki’s final Facebook post was on February 27, when she uploaded a snap of a vase of roses, thanking the sender for gifting them to her.

Asked by a friend in the comments, Nikki’s last-ever Facebook activity saw her reply: ‘All good darling.’

Family members also revealed  Nikki’s ‘desperate struggle’ to get treatment over the last six months, during which time she was discharged from hospital twice while severely unwell, on one occasion weighing just three and a half stone – the equivalent of a seven-year-old child.

The last time she was discharged, on Thursday April 8, she weighed less than five stone. Just 12 hours later, she was dead.  

A source said: ‘If she hadn’t have been discharged, I think she’d still be with us today,’ said one friend who has been closely involved with her medical case over a number of years.

‘There are questions that need to be answered. Nikki really wanted help – she was desperate to get better, she was even eating full meals in hospital.

‘But she never quite managed to get the consistent care she needed.’

Nikki, who stole the nation’s heart with her effervescent and girlish charm on the 2006 series of Big Brother, suffered bouts of anorexia – the deadliest eating disorder – from the age of nine.

Until recently, friends say, her condition was relatively stable. She was pursuing a new career in teaching and was taking courses in English and science.

But her illness returned during lockdown. In an interview last month, her mother Susan described the ‘terminal loneliness’ that consumed her daughter, who lived alone though friends speaking to this newspaper said it was ‘more complicated than that’.

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