President of High Court orders anorexic girl, who weighs 42kg, to be detained in hospital and tube-fed

President of High Court orders anorexic girl, who weighs 42kg, to be detained in hospital and tube-fed
President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

A judge has made orders permitting the detention in hospital and tube feeding of a teenage girl with the most severe form of anorexia nervosa, writes Ann O'Loughlin.

The 15-year-old girl weighs just 42kg and medical and psychiatric reports stated her health is at serious risk.

She is to be assessed with a view to securing a place for her in a specialist eating disorder unit in the UK as there is no suitable facility here to address her treatment resistant anorexia, the most severe form of the illness.

The girl has been in hospital here for some months and, for reasons including the seriouness of her condition, her lack of insight into that, resistance to treatment and efforts to abscond, it sought orders permitting it to detain her and admnister such treatment as was considered necessary to safeguard her life, health and general welfare.

Those orders were made today by the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

The girl's parents were in court and consented to the orders. The girl's mother was clearly upset during the hearing and wiped away tears.

The parents also consented to orders making their daughter a ward of court based on evidence in medical and psychiatric reports that, as a result of her illness, she lacks the necessary capacity to make decisions in the best interests of her health and welfare.

Mr Justice Kelly said the evidence was such he was satisfied to make the girl a ward of court and he appointed the general solicitor of wards of court, Patricia Hickey, as the committee representing her interests.

He made a series of other orders, including permitting the girl's detention in hospital here and administration of all necessary treatments, including naso-gastric tube feeding and psychiatric treatment.

The orders also permit, if necessary, physical or chemical restraint of the girl to ensure such treatment is effective. The judge directed any such restraint should be as minimal as possible.

Because the girl previously tried to abscond, he made orders for her detention in the hospital while efforts continue to secure her a place in the UK.

Addressing the parents, the judge said he understood this is a "very worrying" time for them but wanted to assure them, having made orders for transfer to the UK of a number of other young people with anorexia, there was generally a good outcome in such cases.

The parents expressed their thanks to the judge for his concern.

A similar case relating to a different girl with treatment resistant anorexia, aged 17, is due before the court this week.


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