herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

'Right-to-die' case woman will take food

'Right-to-die' case woman will take food
'Right-to-die' case woman will take food

A WOMAN, who a court heard wanted to be allowed die, has agreed to take nourishment and fluids for the next two weeks.

The HSE has sought High Court orders allowing it to force feed the woman, who is currently being treated at a psychiatric facility for a number of mental health conditions, including post traumatic stress disorder, caused by her being sexually abused as a child.

The woman, who has barely eaten or taken fluids for some weeks, opposed the application through her lawyers.

She had refused food and liquids because she is so traumatised by the abuse she suffered.

Her husband supported the HSE's application.

Last Friday, High Court President, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, granted a temporary order allowing the HSE to administer fluids only to the woman.

The court heard she had not eaten and barely taken any fluids for two weeks.

Her doctors feared she was at risk of imminent death unless her intake of fluids increased.

When the matter returned before the court yesterday Mr Justice Kearns was told she had acquiesced to being provided with food and nourishment for the next two weeks.

Order

Feichin McDonagh SC, for the woman, said after taking instructions from his client she would accept an order for the court to allow the HSE feed and provide her fluids.

Counsel said his client's instructions were that while she did not want to die, she wants images in her head "to go away" and the only way that could happen was if she was allowed to die.

The judge welcomed her decision and agreed to adjourn the case for two weeks.

The only issue left for the court to decide now is the woman's mental capacity, he said.

The court previously heard that three medical professionals, including a consultant physician and a consultant psychiatrist who have treated the woman say she lacks the mental capacity to make such a decision.

However, another psychiatrist disagrees and said the woman is fully aware of what she has chosen to do.

Earlier, the judge said it was a very difficult case for all involved and "judges should not have to act as gods".

hnews@herald.ie

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