Judge hails ‘good news story’ of woman’s recovery after her life was endangered due to severe anorexia
Posted on 26th October 2022 at 20:59
Woman benefitted from wardship court orders for regime of community supports, court told
A young woman who was made a ward of court some two years ago because her life was in danger due to severe anorexia nervosa has done so well since that she has been discharged from wardship.
The High Court’s Mr Justice Mark Heslin said on Wednesday that hers is “a good news story”.
He made the comment after granting what Áine Hynes SC, for the HSE, described as a “very happy application” to have the woman, aged in her twenties, discharged from wardship.
The woman’s position was brought to the court’s attention in emergency circumstances in spring 2020 due to her having such a low BMI that her life was at risk, Ms Hynes outlined. Various orders were obtained, including for admission to hospital and naso gastric feeding.
The general solicitor for wards of court, representing the women’s interests in wardship, had appointed a solicitor, Aileen Curry, to engage with the woman.
After her situation stabilised, the woman was discharged home under a regime of community supports, including medical and nursing visits and “significant intervention” by a clinical nurse specialist in eating disorders. This meant he woman was able to live as normally as possible and to pursue her studies, Ms Hynes said.
In an affidavit, the consultant heading her treatment team and the specialist nurse said the woman is doing very well, working very hard on her eating plan and had accepted her anorexia diagnosis. Both the consultant and nurse took the view the woman has regained capacity, is of sound mind and able to manage her affairs, and thus no longer meets the criteria for wardship.
The intervention of the wardship court had enabled the HSE to treat the woman “in the least intrusive manner possible in the community”, Ms Hynes said. There is no possibility of getting community treatments orders under any other form of legislation, such as the Mental Health Act, she said.
Ms Curry said the woman has been “on a long journey” and it was a great credit to her she was able to continue her studies and battle this serious illness. The woman was participating in the hearing via a remote link and did not wish to address the court but “is the first person to say thanks to the court” and believes the court orders got her through, Ms Curry said
The woman was very unwell and it “is such a joy to see her so well and so enthusiastic” about her dream career in the healthcare sector, Ms Curry said.
Mr Justice Heslin said this is “a good news story” and the woman is “on the cusp” of achieving her goals. He thanked all involved in providing professional care and support to her, her family and all who love and care for her but said he mainly thanked the woman herself for all she had achieved.
The court is aware that anorexia nervosa is “a very sinister illness” and progress would not have been possible without a great deal of work on the woman’s part, he said. With “very great pleasure” and “very best wishes” he was discharging the woman from wardship.
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