Anorexic woman opposed to being made ward of court

Wardship application ‘overbearing and unnecessary’, woman informs guardian

At the High Court, after agreeing to keep the existing orders in place, Mr Justice Michael McGrath adjourned the matter to a date in October. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

At the High Court, after agreeing to keep the existing orders in place, Mr Justice Michael McGrath adjourned the matter to a date in October. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

and A woman who is seriously ill in hospital arising out of an eating disorder is opposed to being made a ward of court, the High Court heard on Thursday.

Earlier this week the court made orders allowing the Health Service Executive to take steps aimed at saving the woman’s life.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has suffered from various illnesses since childhood and is currently being treated for anorexia nervosa in a hospital.

She is described as being very underweight with a dangerously low body mass index (BMI).

The HSE claims that her life is at risk and that she lacks insight and capacity to fully understand what is happening to her or how ill she really is.

Her doctor’s fears were heightened because of efforts she has been making to try to leave the hospital, where the medics say she needs to be.

As a result, earlier this week the HSE, represented by Patricia Hill, applied for and secured High Court orders allowing it to detain the woman in the hospital and apply treatments that her physicians believe are necessary to save her life.

The orders allow doctors to apply treatments they believe she requires, including providing her with nourishment and fluids by nasal gastric tube and through intravenous lines.

Other orders include granting the Garda the power to return her to the hospital she is being treated at if she should leave. The HSE has also brought proceedings aimed at making the woman a ward of court.

Opposition

The matter returned before the High Court on Thursday when Mr Justice Michael McGrath was told by David Leahy, for the woman’s court-appointed guardian, that she is opposed to being made a ward of court.

Counsel said that while all the evidence in the case to date pointed in one direction, the woman had informed the guardian that she believes the wardship application is “overbearing and unnecessary”.

Counsel said that an independent medical visitor would assess the woman shortly, counsel said.

Ms Hill said that the woman had stabilised since the orders were made, and asked the court to continue the orders for a further period.

The judge, after agreeing to keep the orders in place, adjourned the matter to a date in October.