Court case may clarify law on caesarean sections

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 01 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:623
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. legal correspondent, BMJ

    Lawyers believe that a case about to be taken to the High Court in London by a woman forced to undergo a caesarean section could clarify the law on advance directives as well as elucidating women's rights in childbirth.

    Ms S, whose case had a preliminary hearing last week, is seeking leave to apply for judicial review of decisions by a social worker to “section” her for assessment under the Mental Health Act and of two NHS trusts for detaining her and treating her against her will.

    Ms S, a trained health professional who cannot be named to protect her child, was near term when she first went to register with Dr Caroline Chill, a GP near her home in South London, having previously seen another doctor some distance away.

    Dr Chill told her that she was showing signs of pre-eclampsia and unless she …

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