A TEENAGER with a rare stomach condition who has been at loggerheads with Tayside medics over her care will finally be referred to a different health board after Scotland’s top doctor intervened.

Caitlin White, 19, from Perth, has been left weighing less than six stone as a result of gastro-paresis, a disorder which means her stomach muscles are partially paralysed.

She throws up more than 30 times a day, survives on soups, gels and powders, and spends an average of eight hours a day receiving vitamin and mineral infusions at Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI).

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She had also fought five bouts of sepsis since October 2017 due to build up of toxic bacteria in her gut and there are fears she is becoming resistant to antibiotics to beat the deadly blood infection.

She and her family have been fighting for the past two years to have her referred to an expert outwith NHS Tayside after gastroenterologists at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, refused to provide further treatment.

She spent 10 months from 2014 to 2015 as an inpatient but contracted septicaemia and suffered a dozen failed bids to insert feeding tubes.

Her grandmother, Laura White, said she feared Caitlin would “starve to death” and had been left bewildered after medics at Ninewells insinuated she was pulling out her own feeding tubes or had an eating disorder.

HeraldScotland:

- Dr Catherine Calderwood

Now Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, has intervened and ordered NHS Tayside to refer the teen to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde where she will be seen by Dr Ruth McKee, one of Scotland’s leading gastro experts and a colorectal surgeon.

Miss White said: “We’ve been trying to get them to refer me on to someone else for two years. Before they said it was never an option; now they’re saying they’re ‘more than happy’ to make the referral.

“I’m quite hopeful about it, as are my family. My auntie was just about to board a flight to France when she heard the news and she burst into tears with happiness.

"It’s been difficult, but it feels like maybe there’s some hope now that someone can offer advice or be able to treat it or just give me a better quality of life in general.”

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Miss White’s MSP, Roseanna Cunningham, who has pursued the case, welcomed the news.

She said: “I am pleased for Ms White that, following representations I made on her behalf, she is being referred to Dr Ruth McKee in Glasgow, a leading specialist in the field.

"Now, Dr McKee may very well decide that there is nothing further to add to the care and advice that Ms White has been given in Tayside but when a constituent comes to me, I do my best to help them."

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Dr Calderwood said: “Caitlin’s condition is distressing and upsetting for her family. When I was made aware of the case I discussed with NHS Tayside and they agreed last week that, given Caitlin’s exceptional circumstances, a referral to Dr Ruth McKee at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary would be appropriate.

"Dr McKee is a specialist in her area and I wish Caitlin well with her treatment.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Due to patient confidentiality we cannot comment on individual cases, we continue to be in direct contact with Ms White.”