Woman consents to emergency Caesarean section after High Court application

Saturday 09 March 2013 22.05
The woman at the centre of the case cannot be identified
The woman at the centre of the case cannot be identified

A woman has consented to have a Cesarean section after Waterford Regional Hospital sought a High Court order to have the procedure carried out.

The hospital said the woman is 13 days overdue and if she gave birth naturally there would be a grave risk to both her and the baby.

At an emergency sitting this morning, lawyers for the hospital said the woman was refusing consent for the procedure.

However, the woman later consented to an emergency Caesarean section.

Judge John Hedigan said if it is not necessary, then it is appropriate that no court order is made.

The court had heard that if the woman delivers naturally, her uterus could rupture and there would be a grave risk to her and her baby.

In an affidavitt by a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, the court was told that the baby could die or have severe brain damage, and the mother would be at a serious risk of a haemhorrhage.

The woman at the centre of the case cannot be identified a. She is known as 'A'.

Lawyers for the hospital told the court that the woman previously delivered a baby boy in 2010 by Caesarean section.

The court heard that that baby was high and not engaged and an emergency section was carried out. The baby weighed 3.6kg.

Lawyers for the hospital said there is a similarity now.

The court heard there is a scar on the mother's uterus and if it ruptures there is a risk to mother and baby.

Another consultant obstetrician, who gave evidence by telephone, said the latest scan carried out this morning on the woman was not reassuring and he told the court he had advised her strongly that she needs a Caesarean now.

He said he would have done it already.

The court heard that the mother had said that she would like to deliver naturally.

She said that if there is an emergency over the weekend she would consent to a Caesarian.

But later the court was told that the woman is vacillating between having it carried out on Monday or tomorrow when her husband is due to return.

The court also heard that the mother is disputing the estimated date of delivery, insisting that her due date is 18 March.

The hospital says that she was due to deliver on 24 February and there is a possibility that she is further along than they estimate.

During this morning's sitting, Senior Counsel for the hospital Eileen Barrington had said that what was at issue was the woman's constitutional right to refuse treatment versus the right to life of the unborn and the judge had to balance these.