Court grants further extension of feeding order for anorexia sufferer

Friday 31 January 2014 17.59
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns extended the feeding order for two weeks
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns extended the feeding order for 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.

High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns today extended the order after hearing an update on the woman's progress.

Counsel for the Health Service Executive, Peter Finlay, said today 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 had refused her afternoon feed on Wednesday.

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

The young 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. She also reiterated 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.

He said without the intervention she would have to take the responsibility for herself and the team believe she is currently unable to do so.

The team looking after the woman 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 her status quo is maintained and he asked that the feeding order be continued until 17 February when a great deal more will be known about the woman's welfare.

The case will come before the court again on 17 February.

Last week, the court heard the woman had refused four out of seven oral nutritional supplements in one 24-hour period.

It heard that she ran the risk of collapse due to her low body weight, which stood then at 32.8kg with a BMI of 12.2.

Her medical team believed she needed to restore 7kg to allow her to be sufficiently stable.