Controversial Court Decision: Anorexic Woman Given Power to Refuse Life-Saving Care

“Controversial Court Decision: Anorexic Woman Given Power to Refuse Life-Saving Care”

Family’s Outrage

A family is expressing their fury over a court’s decision to grant a 24-year-old woman with anorexia the authority to determine whether she should receive life-saving care.

Despite her family’s belief that she is too ill to make such choices, the judge ruled in favor of Patricia’s right to decide her treatment.

Patricia had previously signed an advanced directive refusing life-saving care, leading an NHS trust to seek clarification from the Court of Protection.

Critical Condition

Patricia, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between eight and 10, falls well below the healthy BMI range, which is between 18.5 and 24.9.

Her condition is dire, with reports indicating she is just “days or even hours” away from death.

While she has the option to leave the hospital for palliative care at home, her family has been desperately trying to find an eating disorder unit that would admit her.

The Legal Battle

Initially, in May, Mr. Justice Moor acknowledged that Patricia lacked the capacity to make decisions about her medical treatment.

However, as Patricia’s condition deteriorated and she was transported to the hospital, medical professionals believed that her condition could still be reversed.

Nonetheless, when the case returned to Mr. Justice Moor, he ruled in Patricia’s “best interests” not to receive tube feeding or any other medical treatment against her wishes.

Changing Preferences

Patricia’s family expressed concerns about her rapidly changing preferences.

While the judge believed she was in agreement with his decision to refuse tube feeding by restraint, Patricia was allegedly telling her family the opposite—expressing her desire to be sedated and tube-fed because she couldn’t cope with being fully aware during the procedure.

Implications and Precedents

This judgment has raised concerns that it may make it more difficult for Patricia to seek help in the future. Additionally, it was reported that Patricia is the sixth eating disorder patient since 2020 to be allowed to choose death over treatment.

A freedom of information request revealed that numerous eating disorder patients under NHS care possess similar directives to refuse life-saving care.

Rising Eating Disorder Cases

Experts have noted a significant increase in the diagnosis of eating disorders among teenage girls, with rates soaring by as much as 42 percent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research also highlighted a disturbing rise in self-harm among teenage girls.

Disparities in access to care based on socioeconomic factors are of concern, with experts suggesting a potential “postcode lottery of care,” where individuals in more deprived communities may struggle to access necessary support.

A Plea for Diverse Treatment

Eating disorder campaigners and former patients have advocated for more tailored and diverse treatment approaches.

They argue that, just like in physical illnesses, different methods should be explored to help patients recover rather than resorting to a one-size-fits-all approach.

The current practice of discharging patients deemed “too far gone” or referring them to palliative care is deeply troubling to those advocating for better eating disorder care.

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