Should an Anorexic be Force Fed?

A court has ruled an anorexic sufferer should be force fed against her wishes and the wishes of her family. Is this the wrong decision to make in light of the opposition or does it take an outsider to make such a bold decision which could potentially save a life?

A judge has decreed that an anorexic woman should be force fed to keep her alive.

This is a controversial decision which flies in the face of her family’s wishes.

They believe the 32-year-old has suffered enough.

The anorexic sufferer herself has also specifically told the hospital she was taken to when her illness got so bad that she does not want them to force feed her.

So this leads to a difficult question of whether this poor woman should be force fed or not.

A judge has obviously decided that in this particular case, the woman’s own wishes should be cast aside in order to save her life.

The hospital are in favour of this situation because their role is after all to help prolong lives not watch them slip away.

The woman herself is ill let’s not forget this. Anorexia is a terrible mental illness which makes food the enemy. Of course she is not going to want to be fed. That defeats her whole current purpose.

The trouble is not only is her body racked by this illness but her mind is probably not thinking very clearly either. Because she is so nutrient starved her brain literally will not be able to function properly and so can anyone fully trust what she is saying at the moment?

Her family, the closest people to her, are saying that yes she should be listened to. They believe the illness has already put her through enough and they do not want to see her suffer any more. This is probably the most compelling argument against force-feeding her – more so than the woman’s word.

They know her and they must have an idea of her wishes and yet are they perhaps a little too close to the issue? As a dying anorexic her suffering is passive. If she was to be force fed her suffering would become more active. Is this what they fear? Having to see a loved one fight and rive away as a tube is put into her arm.

Personally, I think this is a tricky one. But what does make me sway a little is, what if she is saved now, albeit against her will, and a few years down the line she looks back when her mind is clearer and she thinks thanks goodness someone intervened because I just didn’t realise what I could have had?

This is what worries me. There is real doubt there over whether this lady is able to see the full picture and what she could have in life if she was able to fight this illness.

I think because of this chink of doubt, the judge made the right ruling. What do you think?

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  1. I agree. This is a difficult one. The idea that her family is too close to decide and that her mind is clouded

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  3. I think you have opened up a large debate great article
    Best Wishes

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