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Thursday 23 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Judge rules woman suffering from anorexia has the right to starve herself to death

A. Currell CC

Hospital Room

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/22/16


The 69-pound woman has battled anorexia for the majority of her life. In her preschool dance classes, she compared the size of her thighs to other girls’ limbs, and when she was 13, she started purging. Earlier this month, after spending nearly two years in a New Jersey psychiatric hospital, the 29-year-old woman with a bone density of a 92-year-old told a court that she refused to eat any food, and wished to enter palliative care instead, which focuses on the comfort of the seriously or terminally ill. A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that she cannot be fed against her will, and it is in her best interest to be transferred to a palliative care unit. In a 140-minute opinion delivered orally at the bench, and shaped by landmark court decisions on personal self-determination, Morris County Judge Paul Armstrong called the woman’s testimony, “forthright, responsive, knowing, intelligent, voluntary, steadfast and credible,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Therefore, he ruled, the woman, referred to only as A.G., has the mental capacity to choose not to accept nutrition. The state, which runs the psychiatric hospital where A.G. resides, argued the woman is mentally ill due to depression, and that by approving the withdrawal of force-feeding the court would essentially be allowing her passive suicide, the Daily Record reported. Palliative care would simply provide drugs to numb her pain and ease her own death, wrote Deputy Attorney General Gene Rosenblum. In court papers, A.G. has said she is prepared to die but also envisions living an independent life. The 5-foot-6-inch-tall woman said she believes any weight about 70 is too much for her, and force-feeding is an effort to make her fat, wrote Peggy Wright, a Daily Record reporter, in an earlier article. Her treating psychiatrist, Joshua Braun, said force feeding A.G. would be “cruel and torturous at this point,” because restraining her could cause her delicate bones to break, the Daily Record reported. Force feeding would require a tube to be inserted through A.G’s nose and pushed down her throat, possibly three times a day, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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