Mentally-ill mother gives birth at Sunderland hospital after forced caesarean order

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A MENTALLY-ILL woman has given birth after a High Court judge ruled that doctors could perform a caesarean section and use restraint ‘’if necessary’’.

Mr Justice Hayden - who also ruled the woman could lawfully be sedated - had analysed the case at a Court of Protection hearing in London late on Tuesday.

A health authority in Sunderland had asked the judge to declare a caesarean section lawful.

And a spokesman for Mr Justice Hayden today said the woman had given birth on Wednesday and the baby was well.

Doctors had said the woman, who is in her 30s and has a schizophrenia-like psychotic disorder, had a liver condition which posed a risk to her and her unborn baby.

They said delivery by planned caesarean section was in the best interests of both.

And they said it was not clear whether the woman would agree to having a caesarean section.

The woman’s father agreed with doctors.

A lawyer appointed by the court to represent the woman also agreed with doctors.

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

The judge 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 that doctors hoped that her condition would improve so that she could assume responsibility.

Mr Justice Hayden said nothing could be reported which would identify the woman.

But the judge said the health authority which had made the application to perform surgery - City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust - could be named.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and judges analyse issues relating to sick and vulnerable people.