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22 October 2014

UK: Judge approves C-section for schizophrenic woman

Mrs Justice Roberts said she was satisfied that a planned caesarean section was in the woman’s best interests and satisfied that the woman did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about treatment.

She said any “deprivation of liberty” that would be “necessary or consequent” was also in the woman’s best interests, the Guardian reports.

The judge made the ruling following a hearing in the court of protection – which analyses cases involving sick and vulnerable people – in London. She said the woman, who is Polish, in her 30s, and 39 weeks pregnant, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had been detained under the terms of mental health legislation. The woman cannot be identified, but the judge said the health authority that had made the application could be named as the London North West Healthcare NHS Trust

The judge heard evidence from specialists and the woman’s husband at a public hearing.

Doctors said the woman’s “level of unpredictability” posed a risk if a natural delivery was attempted. The psychiatrist said the woman had a “childlike vision” of babies “popping out”. Specialists said a delivery by planned caesarean section was the safest option, and the woman’s husband agreed.

The NHS trust had asked the judge to rule that delivery by planned caesarean section would be lawful, and lawyers appointed by the court to represent the woman’s interests had supported that application.

The judge said the woman was not resisting undergoing a caesarean section but simply lacked the capacity to make an informed choice. She was told that the woman was likely to undergo surgery within the next two days.

Judge approves caesarean for mentally ill woman. Guardian, 21 October 2014