Girl, 12, weighs less than five stone but doctors ‘don’t understand why’

A 12-year-old girl has a baffling eating disorder causing her to lose so much weight she is just four-and-a-half stone – but doctors don't understand the cause.

Medics are on the hunt for a specialist unit to help treat the girl whose weight has plummeted.

The girl, who has not been named, is at a London hospital where she is being restrained and force-fed through a tube.

However, her condition has not shown any signs of improvement, hospital authorities said.

Doctors were unable to identify the cause of the girl's illness, and there was no evidence to suggest her problem was related to "body image" or social media pressure, Mr Justice Jayden heard during a hearing at the Family Division of the High Court in London on Tuesday.

Medical teams are trying to work out whether the cause of her eating disorder is "organic", psychological, or related to a genetic mutation.

But hospital bosses say they have been unable to find a specialist unit which can provide the treatment required by the youngster, who is 4ft 7in tall.

The judge said the youngster's declining weight was "disturbing" and "frightening" and said time was not on anyone's side.

The girl's name, address and location of the hospital where she is being treated have been kept confidential to protect her identity.

Mr Justice Hayden analysed evidence at the private hearing but ruled that the case could be reported after an application by a journalist.

The judge said publicity could benefit the girl because reports might reach specialists able to help.

Barrister Andrew Bagchi QC, who represented the hospital authority, told the judge how the girl's weight had dipped below the 30kg mark.

He said another judge had approved force-feeding at another, more recent High Court hearing.

But he said the youngster was still losing weight.

Mr Justice Hayden said he wanted the girl to get support to help her cope with the trauma of being force-fed – and said he wanted to be sure there was no alternative to force-feeding.

"We have a 12-year-old girl being force-fed three times a day," he said.

"I personally cannot think of anything more horrific."

He added: "I don't like (her) weight. It is disturbing. It is frightening. Time is not on our side."

The girl's parents watched the hearing via a video link so they could stay with her at hospital.

"She's a bright kid," her father told Mr Justice Hayden.

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