Girl, 16, gives birth in Wigan after judge approves caesarean section against her wishes
A 16-year-old girl with mental health difficulties has given birth naturally after a judge told Wigan doctors to try to induce labour one more time before carrying out a caesarean section against the mother’s wishes, lawyers said.
Mr Justice Cobb said it would be lawful for specialists to operate on the teenager, who is in council care, if a caesarean was necessary but doctors should make “one last” attempt to induce.
The judge made a ruling at a public hearing in the Court of Protection in London on Friday, but embargoed reporting until the baby had been born.
A court official later said that, over the weekend, the teenager had given birth to a “healthy baby girl” after being “successfully induced”.
Mr Justice Cobb was told that the girl had a “history of sexual exploitation”, post-traumatic stress disorder and an anxiety disorder.
He said she could not be identified in media reports of the case.
Bosses at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the borough’s hospitals, had asked the judge to decide what moves were in the teenager’s best interests.
Specialists said they thought the teenager’s mental health difficulties made delivery by caesarean section the only “realistic” option.
They said efforts to induce had been unsuccessful because of the youngster’s problems.
Barrister Peter Mant, who led the trust’s legal team, told the judge that the youngster’s views on giving birth had changed repeatedly recently.
Mr Mant said specialists thought it was in the girl’s best interests to have a caesarean section.
He said there was “a significant risk of still birth”.
The teenager, who was represented by barrister Mungo Wenban-Smith, said she wanted to deliver her baby naturally.
She told the judge that she had a “strong wish” to give birth with the “least intervention” and to be “awake and aware” when her baby was born.
Judges in the Court of Protection consider issues relating to people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
Evidence indicated that the teenager’s capacity to make decisions “fluctuated”, the judge was told.
The judge embargoed reporting after lawyers raised concern about the girl recognising herself in reports and behaving in a way which might put her and the baby at risk.