A 14-YEAR-OLD girl starved herself to death after teachers and family failed to take her to hospital - even after her weight had plunged to 34 kilograms. Form Four student Hsu Chi-ying was a walking skeleton when she collapsed and died in a Wan Chai street, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday. Teacher Wu Sui-fun said she was alarmed by the girl's emaciated condition, and had tried to arrange counselling, but Chi-ying kept postponing the meetings. Coroner John Saunders expressed surprise at the failure of St Paul Secondary School in Happy Valley to force the issue. 'Very strong resistance to therapy is one of the hallmarks of anorexia,' he said. 'You were still prepared to allow her to put off seeing you even if there might have been a medical cause that needed treatment.' The day before she died, the teenager fainted at school, but staff decided not to tell her parents. 'The social worker said to give her one week to improve herself before contacting her parents,' class mistress Ting Yi said. A coroner's jury yesterday returned an open verdict on the death, rejecting the alternative verdicts of death by natural causes or self-neglect. But it recommended that Hong Kong students be given more 'life education'. The jury also suggested the Government provide more counsellors to help parents communicate more effectively with their children. On the afternoon of November 24, Wan Chai shop owner Chan Suk-kuen spotted a painfully thin girl in a school uniform standing on the opposite side of the road. A bus momentarily blocked her from view. When it passed, the girl was lying on the pavement. By the time Ms Chan had summoned an ambulance, Chi-ying was dead. The cause of death was recorded as malnutrition - the by-product of anorexia nervosa. The girl's mother, Wang Hsui-chun, said she had never heard of the condition. Chi-ying's eating habits changed in August last year, when her mother refused to let her go on a trip to China with her classmates. 'I found that her character had changed,' Ms Wang said. 'But I did not note that she was upset. She talked less and she tried to confine herself to her bedroom.' Ms Wang said she tried to persuade her daughter to see a doctor, but she refused. Dr Au Kam-wah said Western studies showed that about one in 250 adolescents suffer from anorexia nervosa. The figure would be much lower in Asia, he said. 'I have seen only one case in 10 years working as a doctor.' Sufferers perceive themselves as fat, no matter how much weight they may have shed.