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Teenage girl with anorexia being sent to UK for treatment anxious her teddy bear goes with her, court hears


The High Court, Dublin

The High Court, Dublin

The High Court, Dublin

A teenage girl who is being sent to the UK for specialist treatment for severe anorexia is very anxious that her teddy bear comes with her, the High Court has heard.

The girl was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 12 and does not wish to go to the UK but there is no appropriate facility here to address her very serious condition, the court heard.

Her parents and treating psychiatrist support the UK move for reasons including her lack of insight into how severe her condition is and because a range of therapies undergone over some two years have not worked.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, made orders on Monday for the UK transfer and stressed there was no problem about the teddy travelling with the girl. It is perhaps an indication of her child-like nature that having the teddy is so important to her, he said.

The case had come before the court last week via an application by Paul Brady SC, for the HSE, for orders for the girl's transfer to the UK and the matter returned to court today.

The girl has had several admissions to hospitals and other units here over more than two years and was again admitted to a hospital earlier this month, the court heard.  She is unable to walk and the concern is, if her weight is not restored, there is a risk of “very serious” consequences.

The girl has very "fixed" anorexic thinking and, as is the case with many people with anorexia, a lack of insight into how severe her condition is, counsel outlined.

The girl’s interests are represented by Patricia Hickey, general solicitor for wards of court, who had asked another solicitor to visit the girl in hospital in recent days to discuss the proposed move to the UK.

In evidence, that solicitor told Natalie McDonnell BL, for Ms Hickey, the girl is very weak but very articulate and very clear she does not want to go to the UK. She had asked for another opportunity to address her situation here and, while accepting that has not worked before, insisted she had renewed determination.

The girl had stressed she wanted the court to know she loves her family and know they want what is best for her. She said she appreciates it causes tensions at home when she is not eating and she wants to get back to being a “normal” teenager.

The girl appears very child like and had stressed a number of times, if she was being sent to the UK, she wanted to ensure her teddy went with her, the solicitor added.

Mr Justice Kelly said he would direct the transfer to the UK for reasons including the medical evidence is that securing weight restoration is “critical” and the girl needs treatment in an eating disorder specialist inpatient facility of a kind not available here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article you can contact Bodywhys – the Eating Disorder Association of Ireland Helpline on 1890 200 444 or contact their email support service on alex@bodywhys.ie

Online Editors