Borderline Personality Disorder

Court unable to intervene in treatment of vulnerable woman

The €400,000 annual costs of her care in St Andrew’s hospital in Northampton, England, was enough to build a unit for her here, the judge previously observed.

Court unable to intervene in treatment of vulnerable woman

Mary Carolan

A lengthy legal action over the treatment of a vulnerable young Irish woman, who was returned here last summer after being involuntarily detained for more than 20 months in a specialised psychiatric unit in England, has concluded without a satisfactory outcome.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said, although reports showed the woman had refused to engage in recommended therapies and was not making progress, his hands were tied given his previous High Court finding she had the necessary mental capacity to make decisions about her treatment.

The HSE and all the parties had acted in the woman’s best interests but, in light of the court’s findings and the fact that the woman and the HSE both wanted the case to be over, he must strike out the entire proceedings, the judge said.

He refused an application on behalf of the woman’s court-appointed guardian, supported by her father, to adjourn the case for one final review.
Liability for the costs of the case, estimated at more than €1million, will be decided at a later date.

The 18-year-old woman, who has a borderline personality disorder making her prone to unpredictable episodes of self-harm that include trying to take her own life, has spent almost all of the last four years in psychiatric units in Ireland and England.


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