A 30-year-old anorexic and bulimic woman has died in a New Jersey hospital just three months after a court denied a request that she be force-fed.
The women, identified as “Ashley G” in court papers, had suffered from anorexia nervosa for well over a decade, and had been in hospital since 2014. She had also been diagnosed with chronic depression, according to the state attorney general’s office.
Last year state Department of Human Health Services staff took her to court requesting that she be force-fed, yet Morris County Superior Court Judge Paul Armstrong ruled that she instead be moved to palliative care.
“Whether grounded in common law or constitutional law, our courts have uniformly recognized a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment as a fundamental tenet of respect for patient autonomy, dignity and self-determination,” Armstrong ruled last November.
The woman told the judge that she would resist force-feedings, which are administered through a tube inserted through the nose and pushed down the throat.
The woman was represented by Edward D'Alessandro Jr., an attorney who in the 1970s successfully fought to have 21-year-old Karen Ann Quinlan -- who was in a persistent vegetative state after mixing alcohol with Valium at a party -- removed from life-support so that she could die.
“It [force feeding] would have amounted to torture and we would have been at the same result,” D’Alessandro told the New York Post. “The court chose the correct and compassionate path.”
We’ve often blamed the pharmaceutical industry for medicalising the normal ups and downs of life. But journalists are not above disease-mongering. I’ve just noticed a promising new ailment to which members of the Fourth Estate themselves are particularly susceptible: post-election stress disorder.
According to columnist in Psychology Today, “Countless Americans are reporting feeling triggered, traumatized, on edge, anxious, sleepless, angry, hopeless, avoidant of connection, alone, and suddenly haunted by past traumas they believed they had buried” because of the Trump election.
As of now, no pharmaceutical company is marketing a drug to cure these anxieties. Instead, therapists are recommending a range of behavioural strategies for dealing with the stress. “I advise my clients and friends affected by the election and its aftermath to reach out, connect, affiliate and show compassion for those similarly affected,” wrote Steven Stosny in the Washington Post.
Some people are indignant that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after battle is being compared to discouragement after an election loss. Republican Congressman Brian Mast lost both legs in Iraq because of a roadside bomb. Let him have the last word:
There was a big missed opportunity in naming it ‘Post-Election Stress Disorder,'” he says. “I would have preferred they name it ‘Post-Inauguration Stress Disorder,’ that way they could have called it ‘PISD.’ There’s a big difference between being pissed off about things and what happens on the battlefield.”
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