A 21 year-old woman expected to give birth in the next week is not able to make decisions about her treatment the Court of Protection has ruled.
She had been detained under mental health legislation as a result of extensive drug use. The mother-to-be had developed psychosis due to her use of cannabis and MDMA and was prone to violence. Doctors in charge of her care believed that this behaviour could put her, the baby and the attending medical staff in danger.
Although her mother told the court that the woman wanted to give birth naturally, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that she did not have the mental capacity to make informed decisions about her treatment.
The judge said he did not want to “micro-manage” the birth so he was leaving the decisions in the hands of her doctors. He granted the medical staff permission to perform a caesarean section if they believed it was necessary for the health and safety of the mother and child. However, he insisted that they “tried as hard as they can” to give the woman the natural birth she wanted.
Mr Justice Hayden also rejected the medical team’s request to allow handcuffs or leg straps to secure the woman during labour but said “chemical restraint” would be allowed if it was deemed appropriate.
Social services told the judge that they planned to take the baby from the mother immediately after its birth. The child’s long-term future is to be decided by a family court judge at a later date, The Guardian reports.
Photo by Frank de Kleine via Flickr