A judge in a specialist court has given doctors the go-ahead to perform a Caesarean section on a pregnant mentally ill woman.
Mr Justice Baker approved plans agreed by specialists and lawyers representing the woman at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to take decisions are considered, in London late on Wednesday.
The judge said nothing could be reported which might reveal the woman’s identity, including the names of the NHS health trusts responsible for her care.
He was told that the woman was in her 30s, was detained under the terms of mental health legislation and was due to give birth in the next few weeks.
Doctors asked him to consider the case after saying the woman lacked the mental capacity to consent to a Caesarean section.
Specialists said they thought delivery by elective Caesarean would be in the woman’s best interests.
They said she had been “inconsistent” as to whether she would “comply”.
Barrister Parishil Patel, who represented hospital bosses, said doctors would try to persuade the woman to comply and might administer drugs. He said no “extreme” form of restraint would be used.
Barrister Fiona Paterson represented the woman and told the judge that she agreed with doctors’ treatment plans. She had taken instructions from staff at the Official Solicitor’s office, who offer help to people lacking the mental capacity to make decisions.
Mr Justice Baker described the woman as a “troubled soul” and said he was “entirely satisfied” that the surgery proposed was in her best interests.
He indicated that social workers would ask a family court judge to rule that the baby was placed into council care.