Judge approves C-section for pregnant woman with mental health difficulties

Doctors can carry out a caesarean section on a heavily pregnant woman with mental health difficulties without her approval if needed, a judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Morgan approved an application by hospital bosses responsible for the woman’s care at a hearing in London’s Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves are sorted.

She was told the woman, who is in her 30s, has schizophrenia and cannot be legally identified in media reports of the case, currently has the mental capacity to make decisions for herself.

But doctors told the judge evidence shows she is likely to lose that capacity when she goes into labour.

Mrs Justice Morgan said doctors can carry out a C-section without the woman’s approval only if, in the assessment of specialists, she has lost that capacity.

The woman, when mentally capable, has previously expressed a preference for giving birth by C-section, the judge was told.

Bosses at the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust have responsibility for the woman’s care and had asked the judge to decide what moves were in her best interests.

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