Psych Central


Bipolar, Pregnant & Visiting the UK? They May Take Your Unborn Baby

Yesterday I brought you the unfortunate story of a Canadian turned away from our borders not because she was a terrorist or criminal — but because she simply had a diagnosis of depression and, more than a year ago, was hospitalized for treatment of it.

Just to show you that the United States isn’t the only backwards country in the world when it comes to discriminating against those with a mental illness, I bring you the much sadder story of an Italian woman who had bipolar disorder, went to the UK for a training course, and wound up being forced to have a C-section without her consent. Wait, what?

Worse, this woman’s forced C-section was approved by a UK court. Apparently, in the UK, having a panic attack is sufficient to remove most of your freedoms and rights.

4 Comments to
Bipolar, Pregnant & Visiting the UK? They May Take Your Unborn Baby

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. Click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.

  1. http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/
    Another take on this case is included within the link above, definitely worth a read if wondering what the other sides to this story may be (written with the knowledge of personal experience too).

  2. I disagree, Mrs. S. This woman wasn’t even a UK resident! At worst, she should have simply been sent home to Italy.

    What I don’t understand is why this person even allowed a c-section to be done against her will.

  3. The thing this case highlights is a gross lack of press responsibility.

    Try: http://pinktape.co.uk/cases/never-let-the-facts-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-story-eh/

    And also:
    http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2013/12/03/lessons-learned-from-the-forced-c-section-case/

    There’s more legal links out there.

    • True, here’s a good (if not lengthy) summary of the reality of the story:

      http://www.headoflegal.com/2013/12/04/booker-hemming-and-the-forced-caesarian-case-a-masterclass-in-flat-earth-news/

      Some important points:

      1. The woman didn’t just have a “panic attack” as the original newspaper story claimed. According to the court documents, “the mother has not taken her medication is that she has had a number of very intrusive paranoid delusions.” That’s a pretty big difference.

      2. The mother’s other children weren’t just waiting for their mom to return home. “It seems the Italian courts have placed her two other children with their grandmother because the mother is unable to look after them. ”

      3. The mother wanted to return to Italy, even without her baby. “It seems (paragraph 9) that the mother was escorted back to Italy because she wanted to go there. The judge was critical of doctors for that, because in his view that she was still too mentally ill at that stage, and because her return to Italy reduced the chances of her getting the baby back.”

      4. The government didn’t order the C-section based upon some testimony of social workers. “it was an urgent application first made at 16:16 on 23 August 2012 by the NHS Trust, supported by the clear evidence of a consultant obstetrician and the patient’s own treating consultant psychiatrist, seeking a declaration and order that it would be in the medical best interests of this seriously mentally ill and incapacitated patient, who had undergone two previous elective caesarean sections, to have this birth, the due date of which was imminent (she was 39 weeks pregnant), in the same manner.”

      We stand corrected.

Join the Conversation!

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.

Post a Comment:


(Required, will be published)

(Required, but will not be published)

(Optional)

Recent Comments
  • Elizabeth: This is one of my favorite of your recent posts. I am the same as you were when you said: “Like most...
  • Elizabeth: I read this post a few weeks ago and found it really interesting and I want to read her book. My father is...
  • Hello: When you say people can rise above this using other means…what are these other ways? IMHO bullying works...
  • Maureen: Hi I dont know if” i am in a abusive relationhship even though i know i should as i was in one before...
  • Fritters: I have the same “what now” question.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 10056
Join Us Now!