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Anorexic woman to be fed by gastric tube in hospital, High Court orders

A High Court judge has ordered that a 45 year old woman who has anorexia nervosa be continued to be fed through a naso gastric tube in hospital.

The order was made after the judge read reports that the woman has severe low weight and lacks insight into her situation. In recent days the woman indicated she wanted to leave hospital and does not want to continue with naso gastric feeding.

The orders were made after the HSE applied to the High Court on an ex part basis.

Mr Justice Mark Heslin after reading reports on the woman who weighs 40.4kg said he was satisfied to make the orders sought by the HSE .

The woman cannot be identified by order of the court.

Paul Brady BL for the HSE told the court the woman who has children had attended a doctor in June complaining of a loss of vision. She was referred to hospital.

Reports before the court indicated the woman’s weight in the last few days was 40.4 kgs .

Counsel said on one occasion she was examined she reported she had eaten two spoons of apple tart that day and saw no problem with that.

The woman in hospital had accepted the naso gastric tube on June 24 last but had not allowed the rate of feeding to be increased.

Counsel said the HSE had come to court because the woman had on July 3 last said she wanted to remove the feeding tube and wanted to go home from hospital.

A report from a consultant psychiatrist which was presented to the court said the woman had said she had weighed ten stone two years ago and she thought her ideal weight was six stone or38.1 kg.

The woman she said, despite her obvious underweight status believes she is overweight and there is evidence of a pathological fear of fatness.

The woman, the consultant psychiatrist said is unwilling to believe there is a real risk to her health and life if her nutritional intake remains at the same level.

The woman, she said does not understand how critically ill she is at present nor does she believe medics who tell her she is gravely underweight.

Given that the woman is currently not eating and has no intention of eating or engaging with any mental health services on her discharge she is likely to deteriorate to the point of severe illness or death, the report concluded.

The case will come back before the court in two weeks time.