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Mentally ill woman forced to have caesarean gives birth and ‘hugged surgeon’ afterwards

Saturday, February 1, 2014
10:07 AM

A mentally-ill woman has given birth to a baby boy after a High Court judge ruled doctors at the Royal Free London NHS Trust should perform an urgent caesarean section.

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Mr Justice Hayden gave specialists the go-ahead to perform surgery after concluding that the woman lacked the mental capacity to make decisions at a hearing in the Court of Protection in London late on Friday.

Lawyers representing the trust today said the baby had been delivered without any problem in the early hours and the woman had hugged a surgeon after recovering consciousness. They said no restraint had been necessary.

The judge had said a decision “compelling” a caesarean section was “draconian” - but he said he had heard evidence that the woman’s life might have been in danger.

He said he had concluded the woman, who is 32 and was 32 weeks pregnant, lacked the mental capacity to make decisions about whether or not to have her baby delivered by caesarean section.

Trust officials applied for permission and said doctors thought an urgent caesarean section necessary so that the woman’s “unstable mental state” could properly be treated.

One specialist told the judge that the priority was “keeping this woman alive”.

The judge heard that the woman, who cannot be identified, was thought to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and had attempted suicide.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and analyses issues relating to sick and vulnerable people.

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