Judge approves ECT treatment for severely depressed man

When canvassed, patient indicated he does not value treatment and says it is not helping

The judge noted the man has very severe depression which has proven resistant to normal pharmacological treatments.

The judge noted the man has very severe depression which has proven resistant to normal pharmacological treatments.

 

A series of orders continuing the administration of Electroconvulsive Treatment (ECT) to a severely depressed man have been made by the president of the High Court.

The man, who is a ward of court resident in a nursing home, disagrees with the view of his psychiatrist, treating team, and others concerned with his care, that the treatment has proven beneficial, the court heard.

David Leahy, for the committee representing the man’s interests, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly on Monday that it had previously been arranged for the man to receive ECT on a fortnightly basis since May last.

A psychiatric report was relatively positive in relation to the benefits of that, he said.

The report stated the man’s quality of life has improved and that improved self-care and greater stability of mood had been noted, counsel outlined.

The man’s own views had also been canvassed and the report stated he himself does not think much of the treatment and says it is not helping. But that view was not shared by his treating team.

Proven beneficial

Counsel said the recommendation is that the treatment, which he said is “effectively coercive”, should continue on a fortnightly basis.

In his ruling, the judge noted the man has very severe depression which has proven resistant to normal pharmacological treatments.

The reports provided had stated that regular ECT had proven beneficial and had brought about some improvement although not one which the man himself recognised, the judge noted.

In light of the reports that the ECT has brought about some stability and a degree of improvement, the judge said he would make orders permitting it to continue.

The orders permit the man’s GP and psychiatrist to manage his care and treatment as they consider in his best interests and to administer ECT using approved restraint techniques. They also provide for administration, if necessary, of naso-gastric feeding and intravenous hydration in line with techniques approved under the Mental Health Act.