Judge continues hospital detention for man with disabilities

Brother of the man says family is ‘very grateful this is happening’

Mr Justice Peter Kelly  directed an inquiry into the  capacity of a man, detained in hospital, to make decisions in the best interests of his health and welfare.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly directed an inquiry into the capacity of a man, detained in hospital, to make decisions in the best interests of his health and welfare.

 

An intellectually disabled young man with serious health and other difficulties is to remain detained in hospital until his condition stabilises, the High Court has ordered.

An inquiry as to whether the man should be made a ward of court will be held later.

A brother of the man told the President of the High Court on Monday the family “are living a nightmare”, “very grateful this is happening” and would be agreeable to the man being made a ward of court.

The family were told by doctors and psychologists for years there was “nothing wrong”, he also said. His brother had been happy but had taken “a wrong path”, is now significantly unwell and underweight and unable to look after himself.

While they family feel “very sad”, they can now “sleep easy” knowing he is getting help, he added.

“Whatever help we get, we are grateful for,” he said.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said, having received various reports including of a court-appointed medical visitor who met with the man, he would direct an inquiry into the man’s capacity to make decisions in the best interests of his health and welfare.

The medical visitor had expressed the view the man is of unsound mind in that he lacks the necessary capacity to make decisions in the best interest of his health and welfare, the court heard.

Other reports variously assessed him as being in the mild to moderate intellectual disability range with some putting his mental age at age eight and others between 10-12 years.

The man was detained in hospital some weeks ago on foot of emergency court orders, sought after serious concerns were expressed at the hospital for his health and welfare.

When the matter returned before Mr Justice Kelly on Monday, the judge agreed to continue that detention until the man’s health stabilises or pending further order. He also made orders permitting medical staff carry out all treatments considered necessary in his best interests.

The court heard the man has serious health issues and behavioural difficulties. Because of his failure to take prescribed medication, he has had multiple emergency hospital admissions with life threatening complications.

He had lived at home but his family were unable to cope with his health difficulties or behaviour, it was stated.