Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

December 7, 2013

Forced C-section is ruled justified

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.

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.”

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