Let's say you are pregnant, and that a doctor or midwife tells you that they feel that X treatment is the best thing for your baby. You refuse X treatment. The next thing you know you are forced to have a riskier procedure to protect your baby, despite your refusal.
That's what happened to Miss S.
Miss S was 36 weeks pregnant. Her doctor diagnosed her with pre-eclampsia and recommended a admission to the hospital for treatment and possible induced delivery.
A social worker made the decision to detain Miss S, a nurse, under the Mental Health Act.
The social worker wrongly told the judge that the woman was in labor, she neglected to mention Miss S had been wrongly detained, and was declared mentally competent. She also did not mention the doctor's recommendation.
Miss S was forced to have an emergency cesarean section. Not what the doctor ordered...
She sued. And she won.
Court of Appeals in England has ruled that the hospital has acted unlawfully by forcing the woman to undergo a cesarean.
In their Appeal Court ruling the judges said: "She is entitled not to be forced to submit to an invasion of her body, whether her own life or that of her unborn child depends on it."
This is such a gray area in medical ethics, and every year or so a case comes up that challenges our beliefs. Do you have the right to refuse medical treatment, even if they say it will save your life or the life of your baby?