September 24, 2022

New details surface in UK forced delivery case

A number of important facts have come to light in the case of Alessandra Pacchieri, an Italian woman subject to a forced caesarean when visiting the UK, followed by the seizure of her child by child protection workers.

A number of important facts have come to light in the case of Alessandra Pacchieri, an Italian woman subject to a forced caesarean when visiting the UK, followed by the seizure of her child by child protection workers.

According to coverage from The Telegraph, social services workers applied to the court for a forced C-section as well as authority to remove the baby. Subsequent reports have shown this to be false. The organisation involved in the application for forced delivery and custody of the child was the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS trust.

The woman had had two C-sections before, and obstetricians were gravely concerned about the possibility of a uterine rupture. There was a 1% chance this could happen.

The judge concluded, based on what he called “clear” medical evidence, that the woman lacked the capacity to make the decision about the C-section herself, and so decided that it was in the interests of her health and the health of the baby that it be delivered by C-section.

The initial decision for the baby to be put up for adoption was based on the view that the mother suffered from chronic and debilitating bi-polar disorder. Ms. Pacchieri has been to a psychiatric hospital three times in Italy, two of which were forced admissions. Her father has described her behavior as extremely erratic.

From these facts it is not entirely clear that the C-section or taking of the child was justified (Lord Justice Munby, president of the family courts, is currently reviewing the decision). Nevertheless, it is clearly a far more complex case than initially suggested by the media. 

Xavier Symons
Creative commons
informed consent