Competent patients have the right to refuse treatment and healthcare workers should acknowledge their wishes. In the Netherlands there are conflicting (constitutional) rights of the foetus and of mentally ill patients. This paper describes the legal and ethical problems in the case of a mentally ill patient at 37 weeks of pregnancy who refused an obstetric examination. The patient refused to cooperate and have her physical condition and mental status examined. Her refusal endangered the life of the foetus. The obstetrician decided to perform a caesarean section, even if this would be in conflict with the patient's right to selfdetermination. In these cases no legal framework exists for providing the best medical care. New legislation should be drawn up to prevent similar cases occurring in the future. If a caesarean section is in conflict with a patient's right to selfdetermination, it should always be performed as a last resort.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Blondeau, M.-J. C. E., Koorengevel, K., Schneider, A. J., Van Der Knijff-Van Dortmont, A. L. M. J., & Dondorp, W. J. (2015). Caesarean section in conflict with the patient's right to self-determination?. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 159(12). Retrieved from