Judge Authorizes Force-feeding to “Save” Young Anorexic Patient in Quebec City

A judge ordered the treatment of a 20-year-old woman suffering from “extreme anorexia”, even going as far as authorizing force-feeding.

Without care, she is in danger of death, justified Judge Lise Bergeron of the Superior Court in her decision.

Worried about the condition of the young woman, the CIUSSS of the Capitale-Nationale and the CHU of Quebec requested the intervention of the court in July 2018.

Because the caregiver noted that his weight continued to fall, having even reached a floor of 32 kilograms. This state had caused other problems, especially in his heart.

But in July 2018, the young woman, she, categorically refused to be fed and according to her psychiatrist, she did not recognize the seriousness of her state of health.

She had been cared for since 2012 because of her anorexia and a personality disorder. She had to be hospitalized many times and had even been treated in the past by electro-shock.

Her psychiatrist testified at the licensing hearing that the young woman now has a diagnosis of ‘extreme anorexia nervosa’ and a severe personality disorder, which in the past has even led her to suicide attempts.

On July 12, the health facilities are therefore in emergency in the courthouse. Psychiatrist Marie-Julie Cimon then told Judge Louis Dionne that the young woman was at risk of death in the next 12 to 24 hours if she did not receive care.

She refuses care

In her report, she also wrote that her judgment was “severely impaired by her medical condition, low weight and anorexia”. She categorically refuses the care, saying that she wants to die of her illness and that she does not want to eat anything, ‘though she does not believe that she can die’, she wrote.

According to the same psychiatrist, the young woman ‘is clearly unfit, not recognizing the disease, saying that it is controlled and trying to reassure us that his blood sugar is not so low and his heart is beating normally’.

The care was ordered for a week by Judge Dionne, who found the woman unfit to consent or refuse treatment. But her doctors had to stand in court on July 19, before judge Lise Bergeron, the young woman was not out of business.

The psychiatrist then updated the condition of her patient, who deteriorated. She also reports that: ‘in a state of malnutrition such as that of X, the brain is also malnourished and the fear of dying gives way to the fear of weight gain.

By judgment delivered the same day, in the alarming situation described by doctors – including the fact that there was a large amount of liquids around his heart – and his finding of the inability of the young woman to refuse care, Judge Bergeron allowed the health institutions to override her refusal and to treat it.

In particular, she authorized care related to her diet and hydration, including the use of solutes and force-feeding, if required, and the administration of tranquilizers.

The authorization is valid for two months.

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