I have celiac disease and the hospital does not meet my dietary needs- am I being unreasonable?

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A British mother suffering from celiac disease has sparked outrage online after revealing she hasn’t been provided with appropriate foods during a hospital stay.

Writing on British parenting forum Mumsnet, the anonymous woman explained she had been admitted to a psych ward, and had no way to buy her own food.

She said she had been in hospital for 24 hours before being able to eat a meal, which she said consisted of simply pepper, cucumber and lettuce.

Many claimed they experienced the same while in hospital and they should do better, while others said ‘it’s a hospital, not a hotel.’

A British mother suffering from celiac disease took to Mumsnet after revealing she hasn't been provided with appropriate foods during a hospital stay (stock image)

A British mother suffering from celiac disease took to Mumsnet after revealing she hasn’t been provided with appropriate foods during a hospital stay (stock image)

Posting on the website, the woman explained: ‘To expect that a hospital should be able to meet my dietary needs?

‘Pretty sure I’m not being unreasonable! Been in hospital 24 hours now and just been to eat a meal for the first time (my choice).

‘There is nothing gluten free. I have celiac disease which they’ve known since admission.

‘Gluten makes me vomit. So I can literally eat pepper, cucumber and lettuce. To add insult to injury this is a psych ward and I was admitted under section (still furious about this) so I can’t even leave and go and buy some food.’

Writing on British parenting forum Mumsnet, the anonymous woman explained she only eat a pepper, cucumber and lettuce in 24 hours in hospital

Writing on British parenting forum Mumsnet, the anonymous woman explained she only eat a pepper, cucumber and lettuce in 24 hours in hospital

One person disagreed saying hospitals can’t cater for everyone’s dietary needs and they are not ‘hotels’.

One person wrote: ‘I feel you are being a bit unreasonable, it’s a hospital, not a hotel. How can they cater to every single need?’

However most people thought that the poster deserved better treatment and wasn’t unreasonable to request gluten free food.

One person wrote: ‘They should make food available for you that meets dietary requirements.

Many other users were divided over the debate on the platform, with some suggesting she shouldn't treat the hospital 'as a hotel'

Many other users were divided over the debate on the platform, with some suggesting she shouldn’t treat the hospital ‘as a hotel’

WHAT IS COELIAC DISEASE?

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder in which gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.

Gluten provokes inflammation in the small intestine which affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.

The condition is estimated to affect one in 100 people worldwide.

One percent – or three million Americans – are living with celiac disease.

There are more than 200 symptoms of celiac disease but the more common ones are:

  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
  • weightloss
  • Fatigue

The only treatment for the disease is a strict gluten-free diet.

Only foods and beverages with a gluten content less than 20 parts per million are allowed.

Source: Celiac Disease Foundation

‘Can you speak to a member of staff or PALS? Do you have any family or friends who could advocate for you?’

Another said: ‘Hospitals absolutely should cater to medical needs and a gluten free diet for a celiac is a medical need.’

While someone else wrote: ‘Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that is very easily controlled by diet. It’s completely out of order that no gluten free food is available to you.

‘How on earth are you meant to get better mental if the only food you are given makes you physically sick and gives you diarrhea.

‘The long term consequences can be huge too if you are constantly vomiting

‘I’m sorry to vegans, there should be food available for you but it’s not a medical need.’

Others suggested this is a national issue in hospitals and many shared their similar stories.

One person wrote: ‘This is a nationwide issue, about which Celiac UK have been campaigning for years, seemingly without a great deal of success. It’s not helped by a general lack of understanding among medical professionals as to what Celiac disease actually is.

‘However, the issue is not confined to this condition. A friend of mine died after successful surgery because the team ‘caring’ for him had no idea how to manage a T1 diabetic in the recovery period.

‘The hospital could simply not provide the food he needed when he needed it and by the time they thought to ask his wife to bring food in (she’d been managing his blood sugars for years), it was too late.

‘Another friend was told that she must give up caffeine after she had a heart attack, but there were no decaffeinated drinks available on the cardiac unit.’

Another said: ‘I feel your pain, I have a severe kiwi and strawberry allergy, I’m also dairy free, I have been given my allergen twice during hospital stays but it was visible so I was fine, the third occasion the kiwi had been picked out of a fruit salad. I genuinely think hospital food is designed to be as awful as possible.’

Someone else wrote: ‘Hospitals are horribly understaffed and under resourced now.

‘My friend gave birth last week, is celiac, and wasn’t given anything she could eat for 48hrs. In the end her brother took her in a take away and some Tesco meal deal food in a cool bag.’

Meanwhile a fourth wrote: ‘I also have celiac disease, and when I had an operation they wanted me to eat something before I was allowed home but they only gave me non-gluten free toast.’

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