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British court orders caesarean section on mentally-ill woman

Posted on Feb 02 2014 | IANS

London, Feb 1 : A mentally-ill 32-year-old British woman gave birth to a baby Saturday by a forced caesarean section after a court gave doctors permission to perform the urgent surgery.

A judge gave doctors at a London hospital the go-ahead Friday after concluding that the woman, who was 32 weeks pregnant and a diabetic, was unable to make a rational decision over how to give birth.

The judge said a decision "compelling" a caesarean section was "draconian", but concluded that the woman lacked the mental ability to regulate her diabetic medicine and monitor her own intake of food and water, The Independent reported.

"The decision to compel a caesarean section on an incapacitous woman who is mentally and physically ill is an extremely draconian one. Doctors do not embark upon this lightly. It occurs extremely rarely. It is one that the lawyers also take very seriously indeed," the judge said.

At a hearing in the court, hospital officials said the woman was in an "unstable mental state" and that she could not be treated properly.

The court heard that the woman was thought to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and had attempted suicide.

The woman's husband also has mental health problems and had initially opposed a caesarean section but had changed his mind and agreed to the surgery.

The baby was delivered without any problem and no restraint had been necessary.

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