The High Court has granted permission for a NHS Foundation Trust to carry out a Caesarean section on a woman suffering from bipolar disorder.
In Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v AA & Ors, the woman, referred to as AA, had been prescribed heavy medication for her illness but did not always take this due to “limited insight” into her condition. In addition, when she fell pregnant, she had to stop taking her antipsychotic medicine to protect the health of her baby.
The woman developed complications and was admitted to hospital. Both she and her baby were at risk of infection. Normal procedure would have been to induce the pregnancy but her doctors decided this would be too risky in the circumstances, for both mother and baby. They believed the woman would be unlikely to cooperate with the administration of the drugs required and complications were possible.
The Trust therefore applied to the court to carry out a Caesarean section under general anaesthetic.
Mr Justice Hayden granted permission, finding that the woman did not have the mental capacity to make decisions about her own medical treatment or to participate in the legal proceedings. The ruling was made under the inherent jurisdiction (legal authority) of the High Court.