Tyne & Wear

Mentally-ill woman has Caesarean after court ruling

A mentally-ill woman has given birth by Caesarean section after a judge ruled doctors could perform the procedure.

The woman, who is in her 30s and has a psychotic disorder, had a liver condition which posed a risk to her and her baby, doctors said.

The Court of Protection made the ruling after an application from City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust.

The foundation trust had argued it was not clear whether the woman would agree to the procedure.

It had asked the judge to declare a Caesarean section lawful as it believed it was in the best interests of both mother and baby.

'Compelling evidence'

The woman's father agreed with doctors, as did a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Mr Justice Hayden said there was "compelling evidence" the woman lacked the mental capacity to evaluate medical advice.

He said there was also compelling evidence that if well she would put her unborn child's interests first and follow medical advice.

He was told that the woman's mental health problems were intermittent and that she was a graduate who had built a successful career.

It was planned that members of the woman's family would initially care for the baby, the judge heard.

But he was told doctors hoped her condition would improve so that she could assume responsibility.

The trust declined to comment on the birth citing "patient confidentiality".

The Court of Protection makes decisions and appoints deputies on behalf of people who lack the capacity to do so.

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