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Women are being denied their right to choose a Caesarean

caesarean.jpgThe headline of this BBC article “Women 'Being Denied Caesarean Choice'” is startling but the contents of the article more so.

NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) is a centralised body, NICE guidelines are prevalent in all areas of medicine and are there to ensure consistency of treatment of care throughout the NHS.

It is therefore extremely worrying that only 26% of the hospital who responded to a recent survey confirmed that they fully complied with the NICE guidelines in relation to elective Caesareans.

The focus on the NICE guidelines, as highlighted in this article, is on a woman being given all of the necessary information and then being allowed to make an informed decision about what is the best mode of delivery for her.

Informed decisions are the backbone of our consenting process and it is shocking that women all over the country and are being denied the opportunity to make an informed decision about their own care.

The leading case on maternal consent, Montgomery, highlighted the fact that where a woman makes an informed decision, even if the clinician disagrees with her, that option should be fully discussed and explored and if, ultimately, the option is viable and preferred by the woman, then it should be followed.

Sadly in Montgomery the clinicians did not allow the woman to make an informed decision and elect to undergo a Caesarean, during labour and delivery her baby suffered complications and was left with cerebral palsy which it was agreed could have been avoided had the mother been allowed to have the Caesarean section she initially wanted.

The statistics being quote lead me to wonder how many other women and babies might have suffered complications which could all have been avoided simply if the women had been allowed to make an informed choice about what was right for her.

Hannah Bottomley is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Hannah or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Hannah directly.