JK v A Local Health Board [2019] EWHC 67 (Fam)

Force feeding under s63 MHA 1983 "In my view his refusal to contemplate any alternative paths, and his rigid belief that refusing to eat is his only way forward, is a consequence of his autism and as such falls within s.63. The proposed force feeding is therefore certainly capable of being treatment for the manifestation of his mental disorder. However, that does not mean that I by any means accept that force feeding JK would be in his best interests, or critically would be "treatment" that falls within the definition in s.145(4) of the MHA, as being "to alleviate or prevent a worsening of the disorder…". It is apparent that force feeding is a highly intrusive process, which involves sedating the patient whilst the naso-gastric tube is inserted and potentially having to restrain the patient for fairly prolonged periods. This process would be extremely upsetting for any patient, but for JK with his ASD and his aversion to eating in front of other people, the process would be even more traumatic. JK said in oral evidence that he viewed the possibility as abhorrent, and it was clear from that response how incredibly upsetting for all concerned having to go through that process would be. If it came to that stage close consideration would necessarily have to be given to the terms of article 3 ECHR and the caselaw such as Herczegfalvy v Austria [1993] 15 EHRR 437 and the test of medical necessity."

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Full judgment: BAILII

Subject(s):

  • Medical treatment cases🔍

Date: 13/11/19🔍

Court: High Court (Family Division)🔍

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Published: 13/3/20 11:40

Cached: 2020-03-30 10:54:39