Court told anorexic woman in life-threatening condition

HSE secures court orders permitting if necessary sedation and other treatments for a ‘profoundly malnourished’ young woman

The High Court president, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, was told the woman’s condition is deteriorating, but she has clearly said she does not want to die

The High Court president, Ms Justice Mary Irvine, was told the woman’s condition is deteriorating, but she has clearly said she does not want to die

 

The HSE has secured court orders permitting, if necessary, sedation and other treatments for a “profoundly malnourished” young woman whose life is at serious risk primarily due to severe anorexia nervosa.

The woman’s condition is deteriorating, but she has clearly said she does not want to die, High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told.

The orders were sought on an urgent ex parte basis on Friday afternoon due to the severity of the woman’s situation. She has a BMI of just 13.

Her treating doctor is “extremely concerned” about her, the court heard.

Her physical and emotional condition is such it is proving very difficult to administer naso-gastric feeding, and she becomes acutely anxious and distressed on seeing the tube, the doctor said.

The doctor said she has a good therapeutic relationship with the woman, and hopes she might be able to continue to treat her on a co-operative basis and without having to remove her to an intensive care situation.

Because the severity of her condition means it may be necessary, as a last resort, to involve high dependency or intensive care units for administration of sedation, she considered such permissive orders were necessary. Her concern was to be able to treat the woman while minimising her very profound anxiety at having the feed connected.

The orders were sought by Sarah McKechnie, for the HSE, in the context of intended wardship proceedings brought on the basis of medical opinions the woman lacks capacity, primarily as a result of anorexia, to make decisions concerning her medical treatment.

Ms Justice Irvine agreed to make the orders and returned the matter to May with liberty to apply.