The HSE has been given leave by the High Court to continue providing post natal care to a former remand prisoner who gave birth by caesarean section during a recent period in custody. The woman is currently receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital.
The court was told on Wednesday the child was safely delivered and the woman, who is mentally unwell and lacks capacity, is on bail.
Last month, the HSE secured orders from the High Court allowing hospital staff to deliver the baby by C-section. When seeking those orders, the HSE said the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, lacked insight into her condition and lacked capacity to make decisions regarding her own or her infant’s health.
The woman, then on remand in prison custody, had not been co-operating with her treating doctors and had refused to undergo any preliminary procedures such as ultrasounds. She subsequently refused to undergo a c-section and wanted a natural birth, the court heard.
The woman underwent a c-section some years ago when giving birth to one of her other children, the court was told.
The HSE’s application was supported by medical experts, the doctors in charge of her care and the woman’s court appointed ‘guardian ad litem’.
The High Court had granted various orders allowing the woman’s doctors to take specific steps, including performing the delivery by c-section.
When the matter returned before the court on Wednesday, Barry O’Donnell SC for the HSE, told Mr Justice Senan Allen the woman’s child had been safely delivered following a c-section.
The woman is no longer a remand prisoner, having been granted bail and is being treated as an involuntary patient in the psychiatric unit of a hospital, he said.
The HSE has further concerns about the woman, however, as she is not fully cooperating with those treating her in relation to her post-natal care, he said.
Out of an abundance of caution, he said, the HSE wanted further orders to allow medical practitioners treat her should the need arise.
Having considered the evidence, the judge was satisfied to grant the HSE the orders sought and retuned the matter to later this month.