Anorexic to be tube-fed for further two weeks

A 22-year-old woman who suffers from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa is to be fed through a tube in hospital for another two weeks.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, yesterday extended the order after hearing an update on the woman’s progress and said if an application is made by her lawyers at that stage for an independent psychiatric report to be carried out, the court will by sympathetic.

When the case came before the High Court yesterday, counsel for the HSE, Peter Finlay, said the court order had been hugely effective and the woman has accepted the seven daily nutritional feeds her body requires.

In a report read to the court, her consultant psychiatrist said the 22-year-old had become “acutely distressed” at having to accept further nutritional supplements and last Wednesday refused her afternoon feed.

However hospital staff explained the court decision to her again and “after much support and encouragement she accepted the feed”.

The woman later reported that the only reason she has been able to accept her feeds is because she realises the court order means she will be given them through the PEG feeding tube. The woman also reiterated that she does not want to die.

The consultant psychiatrist said the multi-disciplinary team caring for her believes the court’s intervention is allowing the young woman to hand control of her feeding to the staff and without the intervention she would have to take the responsibility for herself and the team believes she is currently unable to do so.

The team said they believe she will continue to improve with the current care plan.

Mr Finlay said it would be very much in the woman’s interest that the status quo is maintained and the feeding order be continued until Feb 17.


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