Wednesday 7 December 2016

ECT proves beneficial to man who had refused to eat, High Court hears

Tim Healy

Published 10/06/2016 | 17:02

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Stock photo

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) given to a man detained in hospital where he had refused to eat has proven beneficial to him, the High Court heard.

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The 62-year-old man is being detained in a hospital where he had been refusing food, medication and was uncommunicative. 

Last April, the HSE obtained High Court permission to force feed him and administer ECT, which is a treatment for mental illness, under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain.

When the case returned before High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly, he was told the 12 ECT sessions were complete and had been beneficial to the man.

The judge adjourned the case to next month for an updated report.

Mr Justice Kelly said the orders for ECT and feeding by nasogastric tube were made in circumstances where the man had been refusing to eat and lost a lot of weight.  He had been refusing to take prescribed medication and was uncommunicative.

The first six sessions of ECT proved beneficial and the court was satisfied that doctors should proceed with the second six which were completed on June 3.

The psychiatric evidence was that they had been very beneficial with significant improvements, particularly since the second round of sessions, the judge said.

He is now eating and drinking, taking all prescribed medications, communicating and even singing as well as doing things like watching football, he said.

Doctors said it would be to his benefit to stay in hospital for another four to 12 weeks and the judge said he was prepared to adjourn the case for a month for another progress report.

There was no need for the court to make further orders except that he continue to be detained in the hospital until the treatment is competed when the detention order can be discharged.

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