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Trusts face damages after forcing women to have caesareans

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7143.1477g (Published 16 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1477
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    Two NHS trusts face a five figure damages claim after the Court of Appeal ruled last week that they acted unlawfully in detaining a veterinary nurse under the Mental Health Act and forcing her to undergo a caesarean section against her will.

    Three judges held that Louize Collins, an approved social worker for the London Borough of Merton, unlawfully sectioned the 30 year old woman, named only as Ms S to protect her 2 year old daughter's identity. Her detention at Springfield Hospital, south London, by Pathfinder Mental Health Services Trust was also held to be unlawful, as was her transfer to and detention at St George's Hospital, where the operation was performed.

    The judges ruled that the operation itself was unlawful and therefore a trespass, even though a High Court judge had sanctioned …

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