Judge rules anorexic woman will be forcibly fed

Published On: Thursday, December 27, 2012 6:30 AM
By: David Ross
Woman not in the mood to eat
An anorexic woman who apparently has not eaten solid food in over a year can be fed by force, a judge ruled in London.

The 32-year-old former medical student, suffering from other chronic health conditions as well, has been living in a community hospital since April 20, according to court documents.

Speaking at the Court of Protection in London, Judge Peter Jackson ordered the woman, identified only as E, to be fed as "proportionate and necessary to protect her right to life", according to the news media.

And the case was brought to court after local authorities became concerned that her death was imminent, because "she refused to eat, and was drinking only a small amount of water" according to a court document.

The court document also says that E has a history of alcoholism, was sexually abused as a child and has been in and out of treatment for eating disorders since 2006. She also suffers from unstable personality disorder.
In July 2011, she signed a document that she did not want to be resuscitated or given any medical intervention to prolong her life.

"It is this mix of conditions that have at least made it so difficult to treat her ," says Dr. Tyrone Glover in the document.

In the United Kingdom and in the USA, it is legal to administer medical treatment  including force
feeding  to patients with mental illness, or whose lives are in danger and unable to decide on their own.
Despite the law, Jackson's decision was against the wishes to her friends that she be allowed to die a "dignified death".

But he acknowledged that the decision was "heavy."
"On one hand, I was struck by the fact that people who know her better do not favor further treatment," said Jackson.
But the judge emphasized the power of living is in her best interest.