Woman who had court-ordered Caesarean ‘makes extraordinary recovery’

Woman is discharged from wardship as she no longer suffers from mental illness

A woman who was subject to orders permitting doctors to deliver her baby by Caesarean section after she refused to engage on the child’s delivery has made an ‘extraordinary’ recovery, the High Court has heard. File photograph: Getty Images

A woman who was subject to orders permitting doctors to deliver her baby by Caesarean section after she refused to engage on the child’s delivery has made an ‘extraordinary’ recovery, the High Court has heard. File photograph: Getty Images

 

A woman who was subject to orders permitting doctors to deliver her baby by Caesarean section after she refused to engage on the child’s delivery, and later had court-sanctioned contraceptive injections, has made an “extraordinary” recovery, the High Court has heard.

On foot of “clear” psychiatric evidence the woman was no longer of unsound mind, the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, said on Thursday he was satisfied to discharge her as a ward of court.

Discharge from wardship means the woman is now free to make decisions concerning her person and financial affairs without court intervention.

Aged in her early 20s and with a history of mental-health difficulties, the woman gave birth in recent months via a Caesarean section procedure.

The court permitted the section be carried out due to serious concerns about the woman’s mental health, for reasons including she would not engage with doctors or anyone in relation to her pregnancy or mode of delivery.

After doctors and psychiatrists involved in her care later expressed concern she was at real risk of another pregnancy, which would be seriously detrimental to her mental and physical health, the court permitted contraceptive injections be administered.

The woman’s mental health appeared to have improved in recent months, but she had remained in a HSE facility pending further assessment.

‘Extraordinary progress’

When her case came for review before Mr Justice Kelly on Thursday, he was told by David Leahy BL, for the HSE, that the woman had made “extraordinary” progress and her treating psychiatrist had reported she no longer suffers from mental illness.

The woman has recovered her health and speech and appears to have a strong relationship with her partner and her child, he said. The child remains the subject of interim care orders.

The medical evidence is she no longer requires inpatient treatment and can avail of outpatient facilities and that treatment orders are no longer required, the court heard.

Natalie McDonnell BL, for the general solicitor for wards of court, said the outcome was positive and the court was to be thanked for protecting the woman’s welfare.

The judge said the woman’s psychiatrist had said it was difficult to overstate the progress she had made.

She also has good insight into her mental-health issues and is open to receiving advice and supports, he noted.

On the evidence, the judge said he would discharge the woman from wardship and that he wanted to wish her the very best for the future.