The Duty to Provide Life-Sustaining Treatment to AnorexicsIf a person is in a life-threatening situation, it is unethical to ignore their situation, even if they are voluntarily making their situation worse. This is a major debate in the case of patients with anorexia. Anorexics believe that they should have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment such as involuntary hospitalization and compulsory treatment. There are many more valid points against giving Anorexics their refusal rights. Furthermore, part of the argument to give Anorexics refusal rights only justifies the revocation of those rights.
The concept that a person who refuses to eat even to the point of starvation is competent to refuse treatment is not rational. Experts on anorexics have noted that conceptualization, perceptions, and decision making abilities can be interfered by self-starvation (Werth, et al, 2003). Anorexia is a mental disorder, and people who are near death because of their psychosis are not competent enough to refuse treatment no matter how competent they believe they are.
According to Crisp, a widely recognized international expert on eating disorders and an advocate of giving anorexics refusal rights states two justifications for associating irrationality with incompetence in the case of anorexia. One is that the desire to eat challenges an even stronger desire not to die and the second is that the desire not to eat might be an involuntary desire based on a distorted body image (Draper, 2000). If an anorexic is near death because of her actions, at least one of these two justifications exists, unless the patient is suicidal and does not want to live. In this case, a therapist is required by law to intervene and help the get patient life-sustaining treatment.
Another terrible excuse advocates of anorexic refusal rights present is that patients in different situations have various reasons...