Anorexic must be force-fed to save life


A High Court judge has ruled that it is in the best interests of a woman who suffers from "extremely severe" anorexia to be fed against her wishes.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson found that the woman, who has other chronic health conditions, "lacked capacity" to make a decision about life-sustaining treatment.

Sitting at the Court of Protection in London, the judge said the had "raised for the first time in my experience the real possibility of life-sustaining treatment not being in the best interests of a person who, while lacking capacity, is fully aware of her situation".

Giving his ruling he said: "I find that the balance tips slowly but unmistakably in the direction of life-preserving treatment." He declared that "it is lawful and in her best interests for her to be fed, forcibly if necessary".

The "resulting interference" with the rights of the woman, 32, who lives in Wales and cannot be named for legal reasons, was "proportionate and necessary in order to protect her right to life". The judge added: "Albeit gravely unwell, she is not incurable. She does not seek death, but above all she does not want to eat or to be fed. She sees her life as pointless."

Her case came before the court last month when an application was made by her local authority, which also cannot be identified, which was "concerned that her position should be investigated and protected". The woman was close to death, refusing to eat and drinking only a little water.