Court: forced C-section was medically justified

Court: forced C-section was medically justified

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LONDON (AP) - A newly released court judgment says that doctors were medically justified in forcing a woman to have a cesarean section last year because it was in her best interests.

At a hearing of Britain's Court of Protection in August 2012, Justice Nicholas Mostyn declared doctors should be allowed to force Alessandra Pacchieri, 35, to have a C-section because a natural delivery risked rupturing her womb.

There were also concerns that if Pacchieri was uncooperative when she went into labor, doctors would be unable to monitor the baby's heartbeat and to see whether Pacchieri's womb might rupture. In his decision, Mostyn authorized the use of "reasonable restraint" to perform the C-section safely.

Pacchieri had previously had two elective C-sections and suffered from "a significant mental disorder which is psychotic in nature," Mostyn wrote in his declaration. She had been detained in an east London hospital for several weeks before having the C-section.

The Court of Protection makes decisions for people deemed unable to decide for themselves. It said the ruling was released because of public interest in the case.

Lawyer Stefano Oliva talks during an interview 
with The Associated Press, in Rome, Wednesday, 
Dec. 4, 2013.
Lawyer Stefano Oliva talks during an interview with The Associated Press, in Rome, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (Photo: AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

Earlier this week, John Hemming, a member of parliament, said Britain's failure to contact Italian authorities about Pacchieri's detainment violated international law. He submitted a parliamentary motion that calls for greater transparency of such cases and how the U.K. treats foreign nationals held under such circumstances.

Pacchieri is now contesting the British decision to put the child, a girl, up for adoption. Pacchieri's name was disclosed in a press release by her lawyer Stefano Oliva, which said she will appeal against her baby's adoption.

A court ruled in February that "a predictable home could only be secured by way of adoption," although it noted that Pacchieri "very much wished to parent her and bring her up."

At the hearing on forcing a C-section, Pacchieri was represented by a court-appointed lawyer and evidence was submitted from a psychiatrist detailing her psychotic episodes and delusional beliefs.

According to Pacchieri's Iawyer in Italy, she told British authorities she wanted to return home to give birth. The infant's father is a Senegalese man in Italy who has not been involved in the case.

Pacchieri has two other children being cared for by her mother in Italy. British authorities said they liaised extensively with Pacchieri's extended family and that adoption was only considered after all other options were exhausted.

The case has now been transferred to the High Court.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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MARIA CHENG

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