Doctors given go-ahead to perform caesarean section on mentally-ill woman
Doctors have been given the go-ahead by a judge in a specialist court to perform a caesarean section on a mentally-ill woman.
Mrs Justice Gwynneth Knowles also granted medics permission to restrain the woman if necessary.
Specialists said a caesarean section, under general anaesthetic, would be the safest delivery option for the heavily pregnant woman, who is in her early 20s.
They said the woman was psychotic, could be violent and dangerous, and might not follow midwives’ instructions if giving birth naturally.
The judge concluded that the woman lacked the mental capacity to make decisions about birth options, and that a caesarean section would be in the best interests of both her and the baby.
Mrs Justice Knowles analysed evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, in London.
She said the woman could not be identified in media reports of the case.
Bosses at two NHS trusts with responsibility for the woman’s maternity care and mental health treatment had asked the judge to rule that delivery by caesarean section would be in the best interests of the woman and her baby.
The judge said neither trust could be named in media reports and that journalists could give no indication of where in England the woman lived.
She said she did not want to run the risk of reporters creating an information jigsaw which might reveal the woman’s identity.
Mrs Justice Knowles, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, heard evidence from specialists and legal argument from lawyers representing the two trusts and the woman.
The woman was represented by staff from the office of the Official Solicitor, who help vulnerable people at the centre of litigation.
She was told that the woman’s sister was also in favour of delivery by caesarean section.
JUDGE ALLOWS DOCTORS TO AMPUTATE MENTALLY-ILL MAN’S FOOT AGAINST HIS WISHES
Doctors have been given permission by a judge in a specialist court to amputate a mentally-ill man’s left foot against his wishes.
Mrs Justice Lieven heard that the man’s leg was infected and concluded that the operation would be in his best interests.
Specialists said the man, who suffers from schizophrenia and is in his early 60s, could die if the lower part of his leg was not removed.
They said options were limited.
The judge gave doctors the go-ahead for the surgery after analysing evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, in London.
Mrs Justice Lieven, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the man could not be identified.
Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which is based in Blackburn, had asked her to rule that amputation would be in the man’s best interests.
The judge heard evidence from specialists and legal argument from lawyers representing the trust and the man.
She spoke to the man via a telephone link to the court room.
Mr Justice Lieven said the man “doesn’t want surgery” and “particularly doesn’t want to lose his foot”.
She said he also “doesn’t want to die”.
The judge said she had not taken the decision “lightly” and told the hearing: “I am conscious I am making a decision to amputate someone’s leg against their wishes.”
She concluded that the man lacked the mental capacity to make decisions about treatment.
She said she would publish a written ruling outlining the reasoning behind her decision in the near future.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kate Collins / PA Wire.