Court rules for Caesarean section for woman with schizophrenia

Family Law|October 23rd 2014

A judge has ruled that it is in the best interests of a pregnant woman who is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia to undergo a Caesarean section. Unusual cases such as these are frequently of interest to the national media.

The Court of Protection ruled that any “deprivation of liberty”, which was “necessary or consequent” to the operation, was the safest option for the mother.

Mrs Justice Roberts gave specialists permission to perform a planned Caesarean after doctors said the woman’s “level of unpredictability” posed a risk if a natural delivery was attempted.

A psychiatrist said the woman had a “child-like vision” of babies “popping out”. The judge was satisfied that the expectant mother did not have the mental capacity to make a decision about the treatment. I reported on a case in April in which the Court considered whether a woman should have a hysterectomy for her own good.

London North West Healthcare NHS Trust asked the judge to rule that delivery by planned caesarean section would be lawful – supported by the expectant mother’s representation and her husband.

Mrs Justice Roberts said the woman was not resisting undergoing a Caesarean section but lacked the capacity to make an informed decision.

The judge heard evidence from specialists and the Polish woman’s husband at a public hearing in London on Tuesday evening.

Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

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