Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy
by Christina England
1:Diagnosing Munchausen by Proxy
Part 2 – Vaccines, a differential viewpoint
Part 3: A failing justice system
PART 4: My Story and the stigma of false accusations a after vaccine injury
PART 5: Facts from Fantasy
PART 6: Panoramic Views
Part 1:Diagnosing Munchausen by Proxy
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy or MSBP is a diagnosis given to a mother or care giver to describe aspects of their behaviour. This behaviour usually includes subjecting what appears to be a previously healthy child to unnecessary and often painful tests or medical interventions i.e.: scans, x-rays and even surgical procedures to gain attention from the medical profession.
Many theories exist as to why a woman may fabricate illness in her child. Common to most theories is a traumatic loss earlier in the mother’s life; such a loss may be represented by maternal rejection and the lack of love and attention as an infant. It may also be representative of the “loss of a parent, loss of a parent’s love through neglect or abusive treatment, or loss of self through childhood illness or traumatic disillusionment” (Bach, 1991).
The problem appears to be that many professionals describe MSBP as different things. There have been debates all over the world on the subject. Some have said it is a mental illness and some say that it doesn’t exist, others question whether if it does, then can it even be called MSBP, as Munchausen by Proxy is after all, just a term, referring to a list of symptoms, named after a fictitious storybook character Baron Munchausen, who enjoyed a series of fanciful adventures.
Dr Marc Feldman, thought to be a leading expert on the subject, believes that it does exist and describes what he believes to be the behaviour of a person thought to have MSBP on his website.
“They deliberately mislead others into thinking they (or their children) have serious medical or psychological problems, often resulting in extraordinary numbers of medication trials, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, and even surgery . . . that they know are not really needed. In short, factitious disorder, Munchausen syndrome, malingering, and Munchausen by proxy involve illness deception, or “disease forgery.”
They may feign illness – e.g., by faking a seizure or acting as if they have multiple personalities.
They may falsify lab results – e.g., by adding blood or protein to a urine specimen.
They may exaggerate a medical problem – e.g., by claiming occasional mild back pain is crippling.
They may aggravate an existing ailment – e.g., by manipulating a wound so it doesn’t heal.
They may induce an actual illness – e.g., by injecting themselves or their child with bacteria to cause a raging infection.
They may “dissimulate” – e.g., by initially avoiding treatment so that a minor medical problem becomes serious”.
“In variations of the root problem, some seek the HERO or VICTIM role, rather than the
In another article by Feldman Parenthood Betrayed, The Dilemma of Munchausen by Proxy he explains that MSBP mothers need to feel ‘special’ and ‘that virtually all have personality disorders.
Other professionals however, disagree with this opinion fiercely and in 2004, Earl Howe the Opposition spokesperson on children and health in the House of Lords, was reported to have said in the article Justice out of Balance that he believed that professionals were replacing the term MSBP with a diagnoses of Personality disorder, to assist arrest. .
In the article Munchausen by Proxy written by Ibrahim Abdulhamid MD he says:-
“Perpetrators are frequently described as caring, attentive, and devoted individuals. However, not all perpetrators fit this impostor parent profile. Some can be hostile, emotionally labile, and obviously dishonest. Although they have no obvious psychopathology, perpetrators can be deceiving and manipulative. Their ability to convince others should not be underestimated. Their abuse is premeditated, calculated, and unprovoked. The mother may have previous health care knowledge or training, and she is often fascinated with the medical field. In 1 study, 80% of the documented perpetrators, all mothers, worked in health care or child-care facilities. She aspires to establish close relationships with medical staff and frequently becomes a source of support for staff members or the families of other patients.”
Here we see that Abdulhamid’s describes a ‘profile’. The idea of a MSBP profile has built up over the years and has been used frequently to assist the diagnoses of MSBP abuse. The ‘profile’ is a list of traits believed to be common in a MSBP type character, unfortunately this profile also describes many innocent women as well and this is concerning many professionals.
Dr Helen Hayward-Brown, one such professional is worried about the use of the ‘profile’ saying:-
‘It is a nightmare waiting on the step of every sick child’.
‘ordinary mothers and fathers are being accused of child abuse because their children have an illness that some pediatricians cannot diagnose, or the parents strongly question the doctors over the child’s treatment’. Justice out of Balance
She goes on to say how parents are often trapped and uses the example that being an over protective parent is one part of the MSBP profile but then explains that equally so to is being a negligent parent, putting parents into a no win situation.
Earl Howe has also been extremely concerned about the use of the MSBP profile and in Oct 2001 said in a parliamentry discussion at the The House of Lords:-
”The danger of such a broad spectrum of behaviour being packaged into a single portmanteau term, MSBP, is that in the hands of those who are not sufficiently trained or experienced to know better, it is a label that is all too easily applied without due care. This is all the more true when one considers the so-called profile of characteristics that are said to mark out a person suffering from MSBP. These characteristics include such things as privation during childhood, repeated bereavement, miscarriage, divorce and past health problems. An over-intense relationship with the child and a desire to be the perfect parent are other supposed markers. Regardless of the fact that there are very many perfectly innocent, sane people around who might have such characteristics, the very idea of a tell-tale profile of this kind is an open invitation to apply the MSBP label without properly looking at what may or may not be happening to the child. Put at its simplest, there is all the difference in the world between a Beverley Allitt, whose severe personality disorder led her to murder young children, and a mother who invents reasons why she and her child should visit the doctor. Yet under the all-embracing banner of MSBP, and in the hands of the untrained, the two are treated as being practically indistinguishable. It does not matter whether one calls the condition “MSBP” or “factitious illness by proxy”, or by any other name. The point remains the same. ”
Lisa Blakemore-Brown a psychologist, expert in Autism and an author agrees, she feels that parents become under attack and blamed, if they dare to question doctors, particlularly if they believe that their child has become ill after a vaccine injury. She speaks of one particular case in Omissions Prove What and she also made a comment in the Open House: Have Your Say: Measles ‘endemic’ in Britain The Independant in 2008 saying:-
“In the Sally Clark case, Professor Meadow accused her of killing two children who had just been vaccinated, one just 5 hours earlier. To my certain knowledge, as a Psychologist specialising in Autism since 1993, and working as a generic Psychologist since 1984, many parents whose children reacted to a vaccine have been wrongly accused of MSBP. Known side effects have been morphed into child abuse. Workers have been taught to view them this way and act accordingly. Some have had their children taken from them, some were sent to prison and Sally Clark lost her children and her life.”
Earl Howe the opposition spokesman on health, once accused a professor of inventing a “theory without science” and refusing to produce any real evidence to prove that Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy actually exists. He says-
‘It is important to distinguish between the act of harming a child, which can be easily verified (and there are plenty of cases to prove that it happens), and motive, which is much harder to verify and which MSbP (controversially) tries to explain. For example, a caregiver may wish to harm a child simply out of malice (similar to domestic abuse by husband or wife) rather than in order to draw attention and sympathy, in which case, harming the child is merely incidental to the main purpose. In the former case, induced illness is likely to be a means of avoiding detection of domestic abuse (a more elaborate form of the excuse that the victim has “fallen down the stairs”).
Blakemore-Brown believes that the use of the profile has encouraged professionals to think in a ‘ medieval manner’.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown’s Complaint
Re: Influence of Bruce Clark
”Since the introduction of the Clark guidelines, the warped MSBP thinking has performed much as one would expect. It has snaked right through the system.
It has encouraged workers and professionals at all levels to think in a medieval manner and misconstrue what is in front of them. It has fostered a misplaced belief that the road to their suspicions is paved with robust science and indisputable medical evidence. It has fostered a misplaced belief that they are protecting children.”
Some professionals describe what they call some the ‘warning signs’ to watch out for when diagnosing a potential sufferer.
“The characteristic behaviour of the parent is pleasant, cooperative, and supportive of the medical staff; eager to be in the hospital, overly attentive to her child (takes temperature, administers medication, attempts to exclude medical support staff); and able to arouse sympathetic interest and involvement of hospital staff. In addition, the mother may have a nursing or medical background, have her own history of Munchausen syndrome, have a history of marital discord, deny deception, lack the usual parental concern, and have suicidal ideation or attempt suicide before or after discovery of the syndrome (Meadow, 1982). The mother may thrive in the medical environment and enjoy the attention and care she receives from the health care staff. She may have a history of frequent use of emergency rooms and ambulances”
However, if the parent has a disabled or frequently sick child, it is quite possible that they will be used to their local hospital as they may have been a frequent visitor with their child. If it is a good hospital the parent will feel at ease. If this is so, they may feel comfortable with the staff, even being on first name terms with many, and feel that they are simply being helpful and saving work for the busy staff. To many junior doctors and staff who are unfamiliar with the parent and their situation, this may appear to be very much in line with the above comments although I don’t know how a parent can be ”overly attentive to their child” and then to ”lack parental concern.”.
Prof Meadow mentions suicide attempts before and after diagnoses of MSBP. “have suicidal ideation or attempt suicide before or after discovery of the syndrome (Meadow, 1982).”
Again, for some parents with a disabled or ill child there is a total lack of help and support locally and it is possible that this lack of support will have a detrimental impact on a mothers mental health. She may well become suicidal or be driven to attempt suicide. This was highlighted in the news story regarding a couple who had a daughter with Asperger’s syndrome who felt unable to cope with the pressures.
Suicide pair’s girl Heartbroken
The article describes the lengths the parents’ of a disabled child resorted to as a result of a total lack of support by the system. Their daughter who had Aspergers syndrome had ran up huge debts. The family had no support and no where to turn. So in sheer desperation they decided they could no longer cope and decided to end their lives. Tragically the mother died but the father did not. In their suicide note it read
“There is still no attempt to provide any form of help, therefore we have chosen that the only way out is to end our lives.
“…We came to Tenerife on a cheap one-way flight and have been sleeping on the beach for the last three nights while we pondered the situation, but we realise that we will have to end our lives as there is no help whatsoever.”
More recently a young mother felt she was forced to end hers and her daughters life in -
Bullied by gang of youths: mother kills herself and daughter
This is yet another case where the system failed a mother and a child who were in desperate need of help. This sadly can be the reality of a life with a disabled child. Leaving vulnerable families feeling that death for them is the only way out.
Other classic warning signs depicted include separation anxiety in the child and parental over-protectiveness.
“The child may cling to the mother and not demonstrate age-appropriate behaviour (Crouse, 1992). The child may initially display fear, negativism, and anxiety, and later progress to a passive, helpless state”
This equally can be normal behavior. A hospital can be a scary place for a child with many unfamiliar people. There may be a need for blood tests and examinations and this may make a child appear clingy or anxious This in turn may send a parent into overdrive, making them appear over protective. A child who is ill or in pain can also display fear, negativism, and anxiety.
Louisa J Lasher another said expert on the subject of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy in her article Smothered with Something That Looks Like Love but Isn’t says:-
“The main thing these mothers are after,” says Louisa J. Lasher, MA, an international expert on the subject, “is the attention that they get from having a child with problems.” Commonly, these mothers will receive sympathy from friends and family. Sometimes church groups or community groups praise these mothers for their selfless duty to their sick child. Of course, to keep the praise coming, the lies must continue. Thus, the children suffer.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown has a differing opinion which was described by Jamie Doward in his Guardian article.
Guardian 2004 Ministers are told child harm theory was flawed :-
‘Between 1996 and 2002 Blakemore-Brown also raised her concerns in a series of letters to, among others, Tony Blair, health secretaries Frank Dobson, Alun Milburn and Health Minister Jacqui Smith. In each case she received a reply observing only that her concern had ‘been noted’. She also wrote to the Psychologist magazine, warning: ‘I cannot establish a robust scientific base and am aware of a number of cases in which mothers have had children removed on the basis of this diagnosis to discover later that their children had real illnesses or disorders which were missed when the notion of MSBP loomed large.’
See the copy of her letter here
Letter published in Psychologist
MSBP is often described as a mental illness, this is probably because its counterpart Munchausen Syndrome is listed in both ICD 10 and DSM IV (the psychiatrist’s bibles) We have also seen Dr Marc Feldman and. Ibrahim Abdulhamid MD describe it as a personality disorder.
Both of these sites show references to Munchausen Syndrome being listed but not MSBP.( Munchausen Syndrome is when a person falsifies their ‘own’ illnesses to gain attention.)
ICD-10 – ICD-10:
However FDBP or Factitious Disorder by Proxy which is now a name sometimes used, is listed as a personality disorder and is in DSM IV and has been since 1994
In 1985 Sir Roy Meadow states:-
‘that as a rule mothers with MSBP appeared normal on psychological tests with no disorder apparent to the psychiatrist and Rosen et al describes a case where a mother he knew fell within normal limits and showed no sign of psychopathic tendency, however a psychodynamic interpretation of her data later resulted in a diagnoses of narcissistic personality disorder.’
Again this indicates that MSBP is a personality disorder but is it? Many professionals disagree as we have seen. If it is then why is it not just called a ‘personality disorder’ .in the same way as ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ is? For example ‘MSBP Personality disorder’.
Since 2002, MSBP has also been known as FII which is Fabricated or Induced Illness. FII is listed as a mental illness which is maybe why it is being more frequently used as the listing would give the diagnoses more weight.
All in all serious caution is required when making a diagnosis of MSBP type abuse. Much of the above can also be indications of a normal anxious parent with a sick child or indeed a child with organic, but undiagnosed illness or disability. People are by nature different and no one can fit the ‘profile’ of MSBP perfectly.
An ethical diagnosis of MSBP should include a detailed evaluation of the child, an evaluation of the parents and of the family dynamics. Diagnoses based only on a quick review of the child’s medical chart can often be misleading and can brand an innocent mother guilty. The profile of msbp shows that in the event a mother is wrongly diagnosed, the stigma would be much like a permanent imprint on their life. This would affect various aspects of their lives. The victim of a false diagnosis may then spend many years in a system clearing her name.
For many years professionals have been linking adverse reactions to vaccines with autism, neurological disorders, sudden infant death and symptoms mimicking those of shaken baby syndrome, however, professionals are now also linking adverse reactions to vaccines with a rise in false allegations of child abuse. These come in the guise of MSBP, SBS and murder after a child dying of SIDS.
One of the first professionals linking adverse reactions of vaccines with SIDS is Prof Gordon Stewart. He wrote a large number of papers including one in the Lancet in 1979 “Deaths of infants after triple vaccine Lancet 2; 353” listed here on work by Professor Gordon Stewart under a letter he wrote to the BMJ . The letter details much of Stewart’s in depth work in the 1970’s showing links that he had seen to the vaccine DPT and children dying suddenly of SIDS. Part of the letter relates to Sally Clark, a British women jailed for the killing of her two children after they had died cot deaths Prof Stewart says:-
“Stewart (1976), GT; Immunisation against whooping cough; British Medical Journal, 31 January 1976; letters:
This correspondence recalls your earlier reports about the conviction of Sally Clark for murder in trials for the sudden deaths of her two infants, and about her own death after the conviction had been annulled. I am writing about this because on 18th August 1999 I was approached by solicitors in Manchester who were defending Mrs Clark against the charge of having murdered her two infant sons, Christopher in 1996 and Harry in 1998. They asked me to read and advise them on reports on these deaths by paediatricians, pathologists and other experts beginning with the autopsies performed by Dr Williams, the Coroner’s pathologist at Macclesfield, Cheshire.
I found, as Dr Williams did, that the two deaths were different and that for this and other reasons, the reports sent to me were confusing, contradictory and inconclusive. None of them offered a conclusion fulfilling the requirement that a verdict of unnatural death had to be beyond reasonable doubt, so I wrote back to the defending solicitors to say that a charge of murder was unjustified. The same opinion was given by one of the experts, Professor John Emery, a leading authority in the UK on Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID). Christopher had been cremated but Professor Emery had conducted a second autopsy on Harry in the presence of another expert witness. He was unable, under the circumstances, to give a definite opinion about the cause of death but he did exclude, as I did, unnatural death due to murder. We agreed that the deaths were different and noted that Harry had received an injection of triple vaccine about 4 hours before his death which could have occurred after admission to hospital. I had already asked the solicitors for more details, and was awaiting a reply from them to enable me to write a fuller report.
I was therefore astonished to read some months later in The Times that Sally Clark had been tried at Chester Crown Court and found guilty of murdering her two infant sons. I wrote immediately (on 24th April, 2000) to the solicitors questioning this verdict. They did not reply but I learned that neither Professor Emery’s report nor mine had been quoted in Court, and that conviction by the jury had apparently been based on the Judge’s acceptance of the opinion of Sir Roy Meadow that the chance of the second death (of Harry) being natural in the circumstances was one in 73 million. I regarded this as an absurd and unproven statistic, and was surprised also that the Defence had failed to refer to Emery’s report and mine which were favourable to their client.
The solicitors in Manchester did not reply to a second letter but I then received a call from a new solicitor (JB) who wanted to consult me about the verdict, and his instruction by Sally, her husband and father to appeal against it. They were consulting me because Dr W H (Bill) Inman, former Principal Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health and Chief Medical adviser to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines had recommended that they should do so because of my experience with vaccines. We arranged a meeting at my home and he came there with Sally’s father (FL) and more evidence. We discussed the case and the reasons for appeal for several hours, and arranged a further meeting, at Sally’s father’s residence in Salisbury where he had been Superintendent of Police until his retirement, A long sequence of telephone calls, correspondence and a further meeting followed, and led to the Appeal, which was rejected by three Judges who sidelined the one in 73 million statistic. Additional evidence was available from a professor of paediatric neurology and a professor of epidemiology, both from centres of excellence respectively in USA and UK. Their opinion was that the injection of pertussis vaccine given along with other vaccines was more likely than not to have been the cause of Harry’s death, and that Christopher’s death was different.
All of this and much more clinical and forensic detail about the two deaths is available in the transcripts, correspondence and especially in the book Stolen Innocence by John Batt, all of which contain additional reasons for questioning the conviction. For instance, it was revealed that the medics who transported Harry alive to the hospital in Macclesfield and the three doctors – a casualty officer, a registrar and a consultant paediatrician – who examined and tried unsuccessfully to revive him were not called to give evidence. There is no proof anywhere that the vaccines used (DTP/Hib/Polio) cause death but the pertussis component was the whole cell preparation are known to be associated with apnoea, shock, encephalopathy, and very occasionally with deaths, which led Sir Graham Wilson, former and first Director of the PHLS, to say in his book on Hazards of Immunization that life-spoiling and threatening reacticns, especially after pertussis vaccine and in the context of incomplete or non -protection were too frequent to justify mass vaccination. These features, widely-recognized internationally, led some countries in the 1960’s and others later to omit pertussis from childhood programmes and to replacement of the whole-cell vaccine with an acellular replacement. In the UK, this did not happen until 2006. It should be noted also that the three main manufacturers of pertussis vaccine in the UK and 10/13 in the USA withdrew their products between 1978 and 1986. These facts are important because vaccination is compulsory in most States of the USA and some in the EC. This removes the safeguard of parental option, respect for contraindications and medical discretion.
This information was understandably lacking in Clare Dyer’s short article. Sally Clark was acquitted after five years in prison only because bacteriological reports about a questionable staphylococcal infection had been with-held by Dr Williams and others from the previous hearings. The success of Dr Williams’s appeal ensures that expert witnesses can overlook or with-hold essential evidence without fear of the penalty that can be imposed legally on criminal defendants, of whom Sally is just one.  Rapid Responses to Does cot death still exist?”
The most interesting fact about the Sally Clark trial was the Expert Witness used by the prosecution was Professor Roy Meadow who had known for some years that adverse reactions to vaccines and SIDS were linked. He knew about Prof Gordon Stewart’s work and had had access to his papers when they were discussed because he was a member of the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization in the UK, this is the committee who advises the British Government on the safety of vaccines. As a member of the JCVI he sat on meetings in the 1980’s Sir Roy Medows Meetings hearing the evidence of links between the DPT vaccine and sudden infant death. However. despite this knowledge and clear conflict of interest, he has testified as an expert witness in many trials where parents have been accused of child abuse and refused to acknowledge that vaccines may have contributed to their child’s condition or death.
In the article Professor Sir Roy Meadow reports: Michael Nott: A Failure to Learn … Michael Nott an advocate for mothers accused of Munchausen Syndrome (factitious illness) by proxy says:-
“Meadow was struck off by the British General Medical Council (July 2005) for serious professional misconduct relating to statistical evidence he gave at the trial of Sally Clark. At his professional misconduct hearing, Meadow’s principal defence was that he had not held himself out and should not have been treated as an ‘expert’ witness in child abuse. However, he has written numerous articles and edited books on child abuse. He forged a substantial career as an expert witness in this area. In Australia, he has presented himself as an expert in child abuse, provided expert opinions on cases involving deaths of children and MSBP, and has liaised with many Australian professionals on the issues.
According to Stephen Clark, Sally Clark’s lawyer husband, when Meadow was asked to produce the data supporting the evidence at his wife’s committal hearing (and which underpinned his entire career) he initially prevaricated, then eventually admitted he was unable to do so because his secretary had ‘shredded it’. This meant that his evidence could not be properly tested.
Clark said Meadow was found guilty of serious professional misconduct not simply because he made a one-off mistake. ‘It was because he gave “misleading and erroneous evidence” outside his expertise that was “compounded by repetition over a considerable period of time”, the British General Medical Council (GMC) found. Meadow went on to embellish it and failed to disclose evidence that provided balance.’
Clark said the GMC rejected Meadow’s arguments that he was not an expert and that everyone except him was to blame. ‘The GMC determined that Meadow had “abused” his position as a doctor and may have seriously undermined the authority of doctors giving evidence.’
Stephen Clark made the point that at Sally’s second appeal hearing 12, leading British and international medical experts made statements, with varying degrees of certainty, but all to the effect that following the discovery of medical reports which had previously not been disclosed, his son Harry had died from an overwhelming bacterial septicaemia. The appeal court, Clark states, held that Meadow’s statistics were ‘grossly misleading’ and ‘overstated’ and sufficient on their own to make Sally’s conviction unsafe.
The statistical evidence that Clark is convinced resulted in the original false conviction of Sally Clark and the disbarring of Meadow has been used in a similar fashion at the committal hearings of a NSW woman who was subsequently convicted of killing her four children. The USA professional, Dr Janice Ophoven, who provided the statistical evidence for the woman’s committal hearings also gave expert opinion in a similar case in Victoria.
Meadow is also responsible for the child abuse belief of MSBP, or Munchausen syndrome (factitious illness) by proxy (The Lancet, 1977) that is widely accepted in the child protection sector, police and judiciary in Australia. The basis of this allegation is that a parent or other carer has deliberately fabricated or induced an illness in a child. There is no scientifically-based evidence to support Meadow’s beliefs that were based on anecdotal comments on two of his patients. Meadow fails to consider other reasons for a child’s death or illness. These include vaccination damage, adverse reaction to drugs or the combination of drugs, toxic poisoning, allergies to foods or food additives or an adverse reaction to chemicals, genetic problems, doctor negligence or misdiagnoses and the like. Rather, when the matters are fully investigated there are compelling evidentiary alternatives to an unsupported belief that a mother killed her child or caused the child to be sick”.
Mr Nott studied law at the University of Western Sydney and was a senior media and communications officer for Australian federal and state government departments and agencies and was formerly a journalist.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown was one of the first professionals in the world to notice a link between vaccines, the children she was assessing with Autism and false accusations of child abuse called Munchausen by Proxy (MSBP). She voiced her fears and suspicions again and again but instead of being listened to, she was ignored and patronised.
In June 1998 an article appeared in The Therapist written by Lisa Blakemore-Brown, this was a year after Sir Roy Meadow had himself written an article for The Therapist. She was asked to write this when on reading Lisa Blakemore-Brown’s letter in the ‘Psychologist’ Psychologist letter the Editor of the The Therapist contacted Lisa Blakemore-Brown to ask if she would write an article showing the opposite view to start debate. The Therapist article began :-
“A young mother took her son for one of the routine vaccinations of childhood. That night he developed a dangerously high temperature and soon afterwards started banging his head, soiling and gradually lost all his language. His behaviour became erratic, he couldn’t relate to others and he was difficult to control. Investigations followed which led to the diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. Suspecting that the vaccination might have been the cause, although nothing could be proven, the mother decided not to have her next three children vaccinated.
As time went on she kept pestering the social services department for respite care, because she found her eldest boy so difficult to deal with. She became to been seen as a bit of a nuisance. It was suggested despite the known diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome that his symptoms might perhaps of been induced by the mother herself. An expert was called in and she was accused of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). – deliberately her child. Her two youngest children were taken into foster care and the youngest was taken from the foster home against the mothers wishes to be vaccinated. Instantly and tragically , the child’s behaviour deteriorated in the same way her eldest brother’s had done.
The foster mother had videotapes of the little girl’s behaviour before and after the vaccination and yet the younger children are even now being put up for adoption.”
This is just one of many of Blakemore-Brown’s accounts of a change of behaviour immediately after vaccination, and a subsequent MSBP accusation.
In a speech she gave in 2005 at the House of Lords
speech at House of Lords she said :-
“The range of conditions on the increase in the last few years include: Apnea, Reflux, Allergies and food intolerances, gastro-intestinal problems, autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, ME/CFS etc. It is the mothers whose children have these conditions who are likely to be accused of causing them or exaggerating them. All of these have been implicated in iatrogenic abuse, which is NEVER considered as part of the differential diagnosis, for some curious reason. Auto immune disorders, congenital abnormalities, birth trauma and the greater likelihood of problems given prematurity, are simply not considered as the suspicion of the demonised mother in the MSBP theory swamps reasoning.
In a Survey of families undertaken in 2003 and presented at Portcullis House, mainly from the Isle of Wight but including others experiencing the same problems of feeling blamed for their children’s difficulties and being totally unable to access appropriate services for them, over 80% felt blamed and targeted, over 70% felt the process was highly stressful and over 90% felt frightened. Amongst this group, 28% of the babies were in Special Care Baby Units and 13% were prescribed essential medication during pregnancy. The range of their children’s problems echoed those listed above as having increased dramatically over the last few years, with over 70% displaying obsessional behaviour and literacy difficulties, over 65% suffering from anxieties, attentional problems, social exclusion and learning difficulties, 50% suffering from motor impairments and bowel problems, over 30% suffering from allergies and 30% suffering from depression.
The effects of Vitamin K and C deficiencies following vaccines in vulnerable children have been misinterpreted as fractures or cigarette burns. (Kalokerinos 1981, Innis 2002. Clemetson 2002) and Professor Meadow’s own paper makes interesting reading in this regard. Mercury effects from thimerosal in vaccines (Simpsonwood meeting 2000) are never introduced as part of the differential diagnosis. Neither are the side effects of drugs such as Cisapride given for gastro-intestinal problems, now taken off the market due to serious side effects and sudden death”.
Dr Michael Innis another professional worried about the false allegations of child abuse, has been speaking on the issues of Vitamin K and C deficiencies following vaccines, in vulnerable children, that have been misinterpreted as fractures or cigarette burns for many years. He says in his paper [pdf] Vaccines, Apparent Life-Threatening Events, Barlow’s Disease, and Questions about Shaken Baby Syndrome by Michael D. Innis, MBBS that
“Apparent Life-Threatening Events (ALTEs), as defined by the National Institutes of Health, encompass all the findings hitherto attributed to .Shaken Baby Syndrome. (SBS), and may follow
routine vaccination. Vaccines may also induce vitamin C deficiency (Barlow.s disease), especially in formula-fed infants or infants whose mothers smoke. This could account for some of the changes seen in these infants, including haemorrhages, bruises, and fractures. Vitamin C deficiency should be excluded in patients suspected to have SBS”.
Another worried expert is Charles Pragnell who left Britain to work in Australia. Pragnell has a Diploma in Social Work and Letter of Recognition in Child Care and is Expert Witness – Child Protection and Social Care Consultant and Child/Family Advocate. He has written many articles on the subject and in 2007 he wrote one called Iatrogenic Child87 Abuse and another Vaccines and Child Abuse Accusations he stated-
“There can be no debate that some vaccines cause very serious injury and even death, to some children. This has been recognised by both the British government(1980) and the U.S.A. government (VAERS Act 1986) for over 20 years and both governments have provided compensation schemes to families with children who have suffered such adverse reactions. Under both Schemes doctors are required to report every adverse reaction of a child to a vaccine to a central government body but it is reasonably estimated that less than one in ten are so reported.
Many parents in many places around the world have given personal testimony that following the administration of vaccines to their child, the child has become seriously ill within hours or days. Such illnesses have taken many forms but commonly they are febrile, listless, and some are reported to have experienced epileptic seizures.
Within days or a few short weeks, parents report that their child then takes on a totally different personality – they are distant, unable to make eye contact, they are constantly restless and hyperactive – “they have gone into their own little world” is an often stated assessment by the parents. The parent, quite naturally, becomes extremely anxious and fraught as they lose contact with their child. They want their child to be healthy and normal, as the child was in the first few weeks after birth. So what has happened they wonder?.
In the Britain, the parent will usually seek help and advice from the Health Visitor and perhaps their General Practitioner but this is when they are hit with the first of the `Double Whammies’.
The Health Visitor reports them to the Child Protection agencies as their child is “failing to thrive” and is not reaching its expected developmental milestones. They are seen as over-anxious and if they seek a second medical opinion, they are accused of `Doctor-shopping’. In the UK they are then called to a Child Protection Conference with all the assembled professionals usually after being subjected to an extremely invasive child protection investigation. They are not allowed representation although they are being accused of a criminal offence of neglecting their child and they are summarily found guilty merely on the opinions and suppositions of the professionals present, many of whom they have never met before. Their child’s name is placed on the Children `At Risk Register’ and they are now branded and stigmatized as `Child Abusers’ in their local community. They can expect no sympathy nor understanding from their neighbours, friends, or even some of their relatives, many of them with the horrifying thought, “there but for the Grace of God, go I” .
If they are fortunate, the parents will only experience this state of stigmatization and the accompanying isolation and societal condemnation, if they are unfortunate the matter will be taken to Court and the child will be removed from their care, often permanently. Child Protection agencies are reluctant to take this latter step, not because they think the parents are innocent or can manage the care of the child, but because such children with mental and/or physical disabilities are not usually suitable for adoption or long-term fostering which would be immensely expensive to the agency.
Health Visitors, Doctors, and social workers lack the knowledge, or find it incomprehensible, or simply collude in the Dept of Health propaganda that “vaccines are safe” and deny even the possibility that the vaccines are to blame for the child’s mental or physical disabilities and developmental delays. To challenge the received wisdom of the Department of Health would be a heinous sin in professional circles with appropriate chastisements and sanctions likely to follow.
But worse is to follow for the parents of the mentally and/or physically disabled child. Firstly they are left to cope alone with the demands and needs of their child who requires almost 24 hours a day supervision, sometimes has to be fed, and their personal care needs met. The parent becomes gradually and totally exhausted and emotionally and mentally drained. But worse awaits them – the Triple Whammy!. If they have been persistent with seeking help for their child or just lucky, they may have obtained a diagnosis by a psychologist that their child is autistic within the Spectrum of Autistic Disorders and requires special education provision suitable to his/her needs. The child is probably now aged 7. 8. 9, or 10 years. They then face years of battling with the Education Authority to obtain a Statement of Special Needs and even when this is finally achieved, and usually only after appealing to a Special Tribunal, the Education Authority can’t or won’t make the appropriate provision. Either because the Special Schools in the area have all been closed under the central government policies of `integrating’ all disabled children into mainstream schools or because the Education Authority do not wish to bear the very high costs of such special education.
Although it can occur earlier, it is usually at this point that the parent is accused of `Fabricating or Inducing the Child’s Illness/Disability’ a catch-all theory of child abuse based on the scientifically fraudulent and infamous `Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy’. The parents are stunned – it is unbelievable!. They are now accused of causing their child’s autism or other disability, perhaps Asperger’s Syndrome, or ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Cystic Fibrosis, or ADHD, or any combination of these disabilities or diseases. !.”
Dr Harold Buttram also an expert concerned that parents are being falsely
accused of child abuse after their child has suffered an adverse reaction to a
vaccine, wrote the paper
Dr Harold Buttram
Shaken Baby Syndrome And Non Accidental Injury Are Parents and Care Givers Being Falsely Accused? In his introduction he says:-
“These cases fall in three general categories: (1) Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), in which it is assumed that a parent or caretaker, exhausted and irritated by a fussy baby, picks up the infant by its chest or heels and shakes the baby with such violence that any onlooker would recognize it as excessive and dangerous. (2) Non-accidental trauma in which there may be incidental head or body impact against a solid object during the shaking, and (3) infants with multiple fractures. The latter is addressed in a separate monograph. Based on personal observations of more than 10 years, in each of these categories there have been patterns of precipitous diagnoses of inflicted child abuse without first establishing a differential diagnosis and ruling out other possible causes of the findings. Due to these deficiencies, many parents and caretakers are being falsely accused and criminally convicted. In any other medical speciality, these failures to establish a differential diagnosis.”
He goes on to say later in the paper -
“One of the gross errors throughout the history of childhood vaccines has been a failure to take into account the fatty nature of the brain, a large portion of which consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids and therefore highly vulnerable to inflammatory lipid peroxidation.”
Lisa Blakemore-Brown remains convinced that professionals are covering up the truth in favour of blaming the parent and said as much in a letter to the BMJ rapid responses. Sadly the letter was not published in full and one can only presume from this, that this was due to her blunt honesty which left some with a bitter taste. The group One Click News did however print this in full a few weeks later Omissions Prove What is really going on in the system. In the letter Blakemore-Brown makes her feelings very clear.
“Adverse reactions to vaccines are well known”
Everyone working in public health knows that there are adverse reactions to every drug and vaccine that’s ever been manufactured. These reactions are multiple and have been studied by medics for decades. What is shocking is that instead of admitting this, extraordinary efforts have been put in place to damn those who dare to mention them, including the innocent parents who took their child for vaccine and watched them react. Ms Coombes, sad to say, joins the ranks of the establishment who will do anything rather than admit that sometimes vaccines cause adverse reactions to some people. That includes blaming the parents and hounding them to their own graves.”
After studying the above evidence from many experts worldwide and bearing in mind that this is only a small fraction of the growing volume of professionals speaking out for parents who now believe that their false accusation of child abuse, came after a vaccine injury, it begins to paints a very scary picture of what is really going on in the world of child protection. Are parents being falsely accused of injuring or even killing their children in a bid to hide what is really going on and that is that vaccines are not the quick fix to a healthy world after all?
PART 3: A failing justice system
The justice system is fraught with difficulties for an accused person. The odds are always stacked up against them due to failures in legal aid [ as established by the case of Steel and Morris v UK that showed the unavailability of legal aid in defamation cases.
Lawyers are so expensive that they are now reserved for the rich. This is explained by the defence attorney Ryan in Sick Kids
“Ryan is one of the leading defence attorneys for people accused of MSBP Often working for free, he has persuaded the courts to overturn two guilty verdicts and has won dismissals of allegations in four other cases. He said he consults with 30 to 40 women annually who are accused of the syndrome and has volunteered more than 4,000 hours of his time defending women. He estimates the cost of defending someone accused of MSBP can range from $25,000 to $1 million”
With these type of legal expenses, working class mothers of disabled or sick children have little or no chance in clearing their names, should they be falsely accused. The stress of fighting to prove their innocence in whatever way they can is often extremely difficult and time consuming on the mother/care giver. If the mother/care giver is single then she has to weigh up whether she can fit in work and child care around the vast amount of paperwork and research needed to win her case. The stress of litigation and character assassination can cause mental health problems in those with no previous history. It has also been confirmed by professionals that parents are unable to sue.
Mr Clifford Miller a Lawyer wrote this on the BMJ Rapid Responses in answer to an article
“DOCTORS' LIABILITY 24 YEARS FOR FALSE ABUSE ACCUSATIONS
The House of Lords' decision reported in your 30 April article 'Parents wrongfully accused of child abuse cannot sue doctors' is to be welcomed at least in part. It confirms that paediatricians and likely others who make false, reckless or negligent allegations of abuse against a parent owe a duty of care to the child.
Consequently, the guardians of the child may bring an action on the child's behalf any time up to its 18th birthday. Alternatively the child will have three years from the 18th birthday to bring a claim for personal injury. If other claims can be sustained then perhaps up to six years beyond the 18th birthday, such as where a prosperous family environment was destroyed and the child left in less advantageous circumstances in consequence.
Accordingly, paediatricians are at risk for periods of between 21 to 24 years, as will be their employers.”
Even with an admission of a wrong diagnosis, deleting this from the files containing the false diagnoses is extremely difficult. Climbing the mountain of justice is extremely hard for a mother without the support of a defence union [as doctors have]. The Information Commission sin the UK uggests that an individual can make a Section 10 request under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Section 10 Data Protection Act 1998.
“10 Right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress
(1) Subject to subsection (2), an individual is entitled at any time by notice in writing to a data controller to require the data controller at the end of such period as is reasonable in the circumstances to cease, or not to begin, processing, or processing for a specified purpose or in a specified manner, any personal data in respect of which he is the data subject, on the ground that, for specified reasons
(a) the processing of those data or their processing for that purpose or in that manner is causing or is likely to cause substantial damage or substantial distress to him or to another, and
(b) that damage or distress is or would be unwarranted
It is clear that the health and social services systems have not put in place a method of addressing the serious problems that may be faced by a mother who is misdiagnosed. Faced with this system and profound losses in their lives, mothers will often rely on anyone who offers them a chance, any chance through the system. Sometimes, “any chance” isn’t the right chance or the right method of addressing the problems. In distress, it is natural for anyone to lash out at professionals or anyone whom they perceive to be in their way. Doctors and Social workers often seem impervious to the implications of a wrong diagnosis. Coupled with this the system has no way of addressing these issues. By default due to the failures of both the health and social systems to address grievances properly, the targets become the workers within the system itself. While legitimate debate and legal challenge is acceptable, harassment is counterproductive and may have the net result of placing child protection at risk. This is counterproductive for all concerned.”
It is difficult to understand why a criminal can have a conviction which is spent however a mother or care giver who is accused falsely and proven to be innocent cannot get data removed.
Countess Mar the House of Lords certainly agrees with this.
“Even when accusations of child abuse against a parent or parents have subsequently been withdrawn, often after prolonged and costly legal action, the stigma of being branded a child abuser by the local authority remains with the parents. Once a social services referral is placed on their Samson database, the details remain for ever, no matter what the outcome of later inquiries. The referral becomes common knowledge in the local community. Those who work with children, either as carers or teachers, are refused employment and those who have been active in the community or in voluntary work find that they are no longer required, especially if children or young people are involved.”
In other words a wrong accusation of MSBP brings with it stigma and ridicule which is impossible to remove even when proven innocent.
In June 2004 following the conviction of Ian Huntley for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Sir Michael Bichard was asked to lead an Independent Inquiry into Child Protection measures by the Home Secretary Rt Hon David Blunkett MP. This was mainly on record keeping and Information sharing in the Humberside Police and Cambridge constabulary.
This was called the Bichard Inquiry.
This was due to the fact that Ian Huntley had been known to authorities for a number of years and yet this information had not emerged during the vetting procedure, allowing Mr Huntley to be employed by a school.
In this report certain guidelines were suggested to stop this from happening again.
A new system for registering those working with children and vulnerable adults
61 The current arrangements could be improved within the existing vetting framework to address concerns about checking identity, checking an applicant’s addresses, dealing with incomplete and withdrawn applications and providing access to additional databases (for example, HM Customs and Excise). However, the resulting improved regime would still have overlaps, duplications and inconsistencies and could only offer a snapshot taken when a vetting search was undertaken.
62 I am, therefore, recommending a very different system. I am proposing the introduction of a register of those who wish to work with children or vulnerable adults – perhaps evidenced by a licence or card. The inclusion of an individual on this register would reassure employers that nothing was known by any of the relevant agencies about that individual that would disqualify them from working with children or vulnerable adults.
63 The register would be constantly updated, following the introduction next year of a new system (the PLX) that will indicate when police forces hold intelligence on an individual. The register could be easily accessed – subject to security protection – by any employer, large or small, including parents employing tutors or sports coaches. Such a system would relieve the police The Bichard Inquiry – Introduction and summary 9 of the responsibility of deciding what information should be released to employers and would simplify arrangements for employers. It could – and I think should – incorporate an appeal process for applicants who were refused registration. It would also avoid information about past convictions being released to prospective employers without reference first to the individual concerned.
On Saturday 13th September 2008 in the Daily Telegraph an article entitled “False child abuse claims to be kept on file.” This article (no link) stated that Local Authorities are setting up databases to hold records of accusations made about anyone from teachers and doctors to Scout leaders, priests and private tutors. The accusations will be kept on a persons personal file until they retire so that future employers can see them.
This is causing an outcry and being raised on several blogs and websites, one of which is the Liberty Scott blog. She says the following when she discussed the article.
“Instead local government investigates allegations and unless you can prove your innocence, they remain on a file, able to be searched by employers, for the rest of your life. It appears that the UK public policy response to a horrendous crime is to erode the rights of the innocent – because after all, the safest country is the one under constant surveillance.”
Once accused you are in a no win situation, once an accusation has been made it stays for life.
PART 4: My Story and the stigma of false accusations a after vaccine injury
With an accusation of MSBP comes suspicion, stigma, prejudice and discrimination. I was wrongly accused of MSBP in late 1999 and my children were both put on the “at risk register” by Social Services in early 2000. I remember the first case conference as if it was yesterday. I was alone and taken into a room of around twenty professionals, most of whom I had never even met. I was subjected a whole morning of interrogation. My whole life and that of my children was put under a magnifying glass. It felt like I was named and shamed. I was guilty before I even set foot in that building. I was herded in and out of the conference whilst some of the reports were read privately. It was as near to being in court as I have been and I was terrified. I was subjected to three case conferences in total. I was forced to undergo a full psychiatric assessment, have a family worker live in my house for two weeks in the summer holidays and attend core meeting every two weeks.
I am a single mother with two adopted disabled sons. I chose to adopt disabled children as I felt disabled older children deserved the same right to a loving family as any other child. Many disabled children wait as long as ten years to find a family.I adopted my boys because I believed I could give them a chance, a future. I thought that by taking them out of the care system I could in some way make a difference to their lives. I thought my experience of working with the disabled would hold me in good stead and help me access the services they would need to thrive. It in fact became a vital part of the MSBP profile.
Labelling of any kind leads to prejudice, stigma and discrimination which in turn can lead to a person losing all self esteem. During the case conferences, I was accused of making my eldest son who has Cerebral Palsy (mild ataxic) ADHD, Aspergers and Learning disabilities swim as a disabled swimmer to gain attention and to make him feel disabled. I was told I was to promote him as a “normal” person to encourage his self esteem. My son who swum for Great Britain had hopes of swimming in the Para Olympics. I was told quote
“This is unrealistic, as swimmers with ******** level of disability would not qualify” “You are giving your son false expectations.”
This was totally untrue as my son had been profiled by the Para Olympic team profilers and also the Cerebral Palsy Profilers. He swam under the S10 profile. This is a category for Swimmers with a very mild physical disability. I was told ****** did not have Cerebral Palsy – even though other doctors could provide written diagnoses to confirm that he did.
One Social worker wrote in a report that a risk factor (to my children) was that
“Christina gains much of her feelings of self worth through her perceived dedication to her children’s well being”.
Even my children’s clothes were criticized. ***** liked and still likes tee-shirts with pictures on. He had just returned from Disney Land and had a tee-shirt with Mickey Mouse on which he decided to use for a P.E. lesson. I was accused of dressing him younger than his age to enhance his feeling of being disabled.
For my other son, I was accused of putting hearing aids on him to make him look disabled. Few of my children’s records were read properly or referred to. No paediatricians familiar with ********** were invited to the case conferences. My son has a permanent bi lateral hearing loss exacerbated by glue ear. Weeks later I went to his regular hearing tests and burst into tears asking why my consultant had not backed me. I kept asking if my son really had a hearing problem. I had been totally convinced by the panel that I had made this all up. My consultant was livid saying he knew nothing of any hearings or case conferences. In a letter he later wrote to Social Services he wrote:
“I was surprised and frankly appalled that comments can be passed in a specialist area of this kind without any reference to any of the audio logical professionals involved”
At the third and last case conference and only after professional Lisa Blakemore-Brown had become involved, my children were taken off the “at risk register” and since that time my name has been completely cleared. As it happened both children were found to have all disabilities that I had said and a whole lot more.
During the time I was accused I lost my father and had to arrange his funeral whilst also looking after a totally dependant mother. My father’s death caused the last case conference to be deferred. Comment by the Chair was
“Due to the untimely death of Ms England’s father the case conference is later than scheduled”
My father had died of lung and brain cancer. My largest regret is that my father died with his precious grandchildren on the “at risk register” and his only daughter accused of child abuse.
If that was the end of it I suppose I could come to terms with my feelings but it isn’t. For me and my boys it will never end.
Before I was accused, we were in the process of adopting another child. A permanent stop was put on that as with an accusation comes the child abuse register. It doesn’t matter that my name is cleared as my name will remain on there permanently as I have been suspected of child abuse. This causes me much intense pain as I felt I was a good caring and loving mother. I long to give another child with disabilities a home and a family, unfortunately through these accusations it means not only can I never adopt or foster again also I can never work with children. Before my accusation, I was a foster mother, I was fostering a child with severe Down’s Syndrome and challenging behaviour aged six, that child was immediately removed from my care. I am qualified as a Portage Teacher to work with children that are disabled in their homes. This means I am qualified to work out programmes of small steps to help the parents teach their disabled youngsters new skills. I am also qualified in learning support for children with disabilities. As it stands I cannot even help at my local Sunday School or go on one of their outings. I feel such deep pain over this. I feel that I have a stain on my character and am viewed with deep suspicion even hate by some people.
I was a member of the Mothers Union at my church but I was the only member not allowed to assist in Baptisms. This totally broke my heart. To enable me to do this I had to go through full Child Protection checks. I explained to the leader what had happened but instead of support she told every member of Mothers Union. Half still refuse to speak to me despite knowing myself and my children for more than 8 years. I no longer go.
I often feel stigmatised and discriminated against.
Getting my children’s needs met has been especially difficult as many referrals go missing. As MSBP is written right through all our records I am immediately viewed with suspicion. My youngest son has a low immune system and is frequently ill very often resulting in hospital stays. I am always monitored unnecessarily, this is because the assumption is, that a mother with MSBP may try to cause her child harm. All medical records are immediately removed from the room on my arrival as it is assumed that they will be tampered with. Doctors who don’t know me or my son ignore anything I say and this nearly resulted in my youngest being diagnosed with Appendicitis when I knew he had Pneumonia, why, because he was saying he had tummy ache. He doesn’t know his tummy from his head as he has severe learning difficulties and I had seen him in a similar condition when he had previously had pneumonia. Fortunately for us, a doctor who did know us said he was taking on the case. He said “I know this mother and I know this child”. I want all staff to listen to this parent”. He then asked me what I thought and immediately ordered chest x ray. It was later confirmed as Pneumonia.
All labels carry stigma. MSBP is all about labels. The child psychiatrist in my case conferences said I like labels. He had not even bothered to read my children’s adoption records and uniquely accused me of causing and fabricating the disabilities my children came to me with. He had at no time before the case conferences met me or my children.
Stigma means a mark or token of shame, disgrace or reproach. Through this label, I feel as if I have a token of shame pinned on me like a badge stating that I am not be trusted.
With labels comes prejudice. Prejudice means to have a fixed attitude against another person or group of people For example those labelled with MSBP, are thought of as having certain characteristics, even when the evidence shows that they do not. Holding any form of fixed attitude usually leads to a certain behaviour towards that target group, leading to the person with the prejudice acting differently towards them. This is called Discrimination. I have been discriminated against by the Mothers Union and the hospital.
When my eldest son was 20 he broke his finger in a basketball match. I took him to the hospital and then asked to prove how my son broke his finger. This resulted in me having to get a letter from his basketball coach.
MSBP is seen by many as mental illness and it is seen by all as child abuse. Anyone who has the label MSBP attached to them whether falsely or not is seen as either mentally ill or a child abuser and nine times out of ten they are seen as both. I feel I have to prove everything and in doing this I feel I may appear odd to outsiders.
I am not or ever have been mentally ill. My psychiatric assessment came out perfectly normal. I have no personality disorder. I know other falsely accused mothers, none of them I would describe as having a mental illness or a personality disorder.
In a recent paper by the National Economic and Social Forum or NSEF report 36 October 2007 called Mental Health and Social Inclusion, it states that Stigma and Discrimination are the greatest barriers to Social Inclusion.
A wrong label of mental Illness attached to any person affects that person and their family for life. The label MSBP given wrongly has led to children dying, parents serving prison sentences and many children being snatched away from loving caring parents and thrown into an already failing care system.
Very often a label of MSBP is given when the medical profession cannot find the answers. Instead of continuing to try they chose to blame Mum. Some parents push for answers they want to do everything possible to give their children the best they can in life. Often these children have undiagnosed disorders like mine. MSBP is very often attached to parents like me to quieten them and to save money. Here in “Justice out of balance” this is explained by numerous professionals and also in this email by Michael Nott
For me I question everything I do. I still have panic attacks on entering a hospital or a GP’s. My children do not get the services and provisions they are entitled to. Despite professionals giving expert opinions and diagnoses the LEA still deny certain conditions exist and so in turn my children cannot access certain educational provision. I have been left shaken and untrusting. For my family and thousands of others the system has failed us and our children. I agree with Charles Pragnell when he says in his article Charles Pragnell – Perverse Reversal of Child Custody
“it is child abuse gone mad”.
Because of my now extreme dislike and mistrust of medical settings and the professionals I take a witness to every meeting and every appointment and emergency. I am now terrified of challenging doctors. My childrens’ needs are neglected not by me but by the system because of wrong diagnosis
Both children have been diagnosed with Autism and varying conditions by Lisa Blakemore-Brown who for us has been a life saver. Without her I doubt if I could have got through. She is the only one who supported my eldest when he was so depressed he never wanted to swim again and felt that all his trophies and medals were worthless. His words “I am a nothing”.. She sat with him while he rocked, cried and was so distressed. She talked to him and persuaded him to carry on. Her diagnoses is still being ignored. This is I feel to save face.
******** struggled in a mainstream college and could only get on a part time course with very little educational support. Fortunately through Lisa he is now on a full time course at another mainstream college with full time support. He has severe dyslexia and really struggled to cope. He has been refused a social worker and so has absolutely no support.
Lisa did very full and thorough assessments on both my children. She read all the adoption papers and read their full histories. She traced back their past medical backgrounds and discovered that my eldest became very sick with bowel problems and Autism after his MMR vaccine. This was very well documented in the ‘foster carer diaries’ that he came with. She showed me and explained to me the patterns that I had not even considered at that time because I was totally unaware about the links with adverse reactions to vaccines and Autism.
She showed me the enormous amount of work that she had done over many years and the letters that she had written to the UK Government outlining her concerns. Lisa was the first professional in the world to link vaccine adverse reactions, Autism and false accusations of MSBP. Over the years she had seen a growing number of children with ‘Vaccine Induced Autism’ whose parents like myself had been falsely accused of MSBP.
She diagnosed my youngest son to have Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Severe Learning Difficulties and a Language Disorder on top of already diagnosed Low Immune System, Asthma, Epilepsy, Growth problem, Bilateral hearing loss and Mild curvature of the spine,
My youngest has now also left school. Fortunately through the knowledge of what happened to ****** I knew he needed to keep the educational statement to get education until 19. I have fought to keep this and have managed to, however, due to this borough ignoring and denying the label ASD he has had to go into a school for Severely and Profoundly disabled children for the remaining 3 years of his education This is totally the wrong provision and a placement he had already tried and been found to be too advanced in. When he has finished there, there is nothing unless his true disabilities are recognized and acknowledged. If they are, he can access a specialist long term provision and later go into independent living. Fortunately Lisa’s reports are so good and so in depth, backed up with references and written material,these will help me to fight for ***** needs and hopefully get him in that long term special provision which is now at the age of 18 being thought necessary. Finally in the last six months after two years at his present school he is believed to be (by the school) Autistic and extremely vulnerable.
By labelling me MSBP, I am thought to exaggerate and lie. I am viewed with suspicion so this makes the fighting all the more difficult. What chance does a mother have of fighting to get needs met when no one believes a word she says? Fortunately for this family we have an excellent MP, who has read every document I own and believes me. He is fighting very hard for my children. Nick Gibb MP has been a huge support and pillar of strength.
In my story there are some positive outcomes. My eldest son carried on swimming despite two years of depression and not wanting to swim, caused by Social Services. When I was accused he felt that all his 200 medals were not worth anything and neither was he. He however recently swam in the World Games in the USA. He swam in Holland in January 2008 and achieved a Gold, Silver and a Bronze. He also had a trip to Slovakia in June 2008 and won 1 Gold 2 Silver and 2 Bronze. He went on to repeat this in 2009 and hopes to go again this year. He recently was profiled out of the S10 category as the profile criteria changed so he now swims as S14 the category for those with a Leaning Disability. He is soon to go to Czech Republic.
My youngest enjoys his life, is passionate about wrestling, also swims and does Archery.
It is my belief that the vaccine link to false accusations of MSBP, SBS and SIDS needs to be looked into in more depth.
I was extremely lucky to have had Lisa Blakemore-Brown as the professional in my case. If it had not been for this incredible and dedicated lady I would not have had my children today. I will never be able to find the words to thank her enough. If it was not for her dedication and hard work throughout many years ,many families like myself, would not be together and their children would never have access to the services and education that they do today.
Also helping me has been Nick Gibb MP, Earl Howe and Countess Mar House of Lords and Charles Pragnell.
I have decided to use my experiences and have studied to become a journalist to expose the issues raised and help other families that have been falsely accused of child abuse after their child has been vaccine injured.
PART 5: Facts from Fantasy
The fact will always remain that MSBP type child abuse does exist and not all cases are false. In this proven case, a mother injected faeces into the child’s bloodstream.
Mother injects baby with faeces
In the UK one victim of MSBP, Julie Gregory, wrote her first hand account of life as a victim in the book Sickened which makes very difficult and harrowing reading,
Prof David Southall through his research found that MSBP did exist and wrote a research paper on the subject. He used covert video surveillance to film mothers suspected of abuse in action Confirmation of attempted suffocation or other child abuse from CVS.
Prof David Southall is a controversial professional particularly well known for his use of the term MSBP. Many say that he has been over zealous in his diagnoses of MSBP and he has since been struck off by the General Medical Council after being found guilty of serious professional misconduct.
In 1995/6 the expert Lisa Blakemore-Brown and Prof David Southall were both expert witnesses at a Court Case and in March 1997 a documentary was made in New Zealand film featuring Lisa Blakemore-Brown on MSBP alongside Prof David Southall Click Here To See Film
Health advocate Gregory White writes:-
Its focus is the use of the legal term “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy” and how innocent mothers have been destroyed by having it falsely applied to them and blamed for their children’s very real conditions, some of which are related to side effects of drugs and vaccines.
It pivotally features a mother who had four children removed in the UK, and moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband; a number of similarly falsely accused families and certain key professional figures, namely, David Southall, a Paediatrician and Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a Psychologist.
The reason it features these professionals is because both were Experts in a court case involving the central family featured in the film.”
Over the years Ms Blakemore-Brown has often spoken out about the over zealous way that paediatricians, in particular, Prof Roy Meadow and Prof David Southall, have targeted innocent parents and diagnosed them falsely as suffering from Munchausen by Proxy particularly she feels after their children have been vaccine injured In 1999 Ms Blakemore-Brown was a witness in the Griffiths Inquiry. Jamie Doward in 2004 wrote about this in Ministers told child harm theory was flawed his report described how Ms Blakemore-Brown had been so concerned about Prof David Southall she had written to the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the then Home Secretary Jack Straw outlining her concerns.
Jamie Doward writes
“Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a child psychologist and expert on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, who, as chairwoman of an organisation called Promoting Parenting Skills acted as an adviser to the Home Office, wrote to then shadow secretary Jack Straw in 1996 warning that MSBP had resulted in a mother being wrongly separated from her children.
Between 1996 and 2002 Blakemore-Brown also raised her concerns in a series of letters to, among others, Tony Blair, health secretaries Frank Dobson, Alun Milburn and Health Minister Jacqui Smith. In each case she received a reply observing only that her concern had ‘been noted’. She also wrote to the Psychologist magazine, warning: ‘I cannot establish a robust scientific base and am aware of a number of cases in which mothers have had children removed on the basis of this diagnosis to discover later that their children had real illnesses or disorders which were missed when the notion of MSBP loomed large.’ “
A history Southall’s work is detailed on David Southall – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia copied below.
“Prior to becoming a pediatrician, Southall spent four years in general adult medicine, one year in obstetrics and two years as a general practioner.
Between 1986 and 1994, Southall led a pilot research project into FII involving video surveillance of young hospital patients in an effort to observe their carers (such as parents or guardians) harming them.] The project, which was conducted at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary in Stoke-on-Trent, observed carers using methods such as suffocation and poisoning to harm the children. As a result of the project, thirty-three parents or stepparents who had harmed their children were prosecuted, and twenty-three were diagnosed with FII.
The project attracted controversy for its methods and for the ethical implications of the research. Critics argued that the desire of the researchers to observe the carers harming the children exposed the children to further abuse, that the betrayal of doctor-patient trust necessarily involved in the surveillance could cause harm to the subjects, and that “a diagnosis should lead to treatment, not punishment” However, the researchers argued that the surveillance saved the lives of many of the children involved, and Southall himself said that “[b]y doing covert video surveillance we are betraying the trust of parents… [b]ut if a parent has been abusing his or her child in this way then the trust between child and parent has already gone.
In the early 1990s, Southall led a study which pioneered continuous negative extrathoracic pressure therapy, a treatment for breathing difficulties in young children involving the application of pressure to the patients’ chests. The study was controversial, with some parents of the children involved suggesting that the treatment was linked to subsequent death or brain injury. The research was the subject of investigations by the hospital involved and inquiries from police. An independent follow-up study concluded in 2006 that there was “no evidence of disadvantage, in terms of long-term disability or psychological outcomes” from the use of the technique.
In 1993, during the Bosnian War, Southall traveled to Sarajevo as a participant in a medical evacuation programme for sick children from the area. Prompted by his experiences there of what he described as “trauma inflicted on children and their families, not only by warring factions, but also by the indolence of the international community”, Southall established Child Advocacy International on his return, to advocate for international child health issues.
In 2004, Southall was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC), after alleging to police that the husband of Sally Clark was responsible for murdering the couple’s children.Southall made the claim to child protection officers of the Staffordshire police after watching a television documentary about the case. The GMC banned Southall from child protection work for three years; the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence challenged the decision as insufficient and argued that he should be deregistered, but a High Court of Justice decision in 2005 held that the sanction was not unduly lenient.
In February 2007, Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith announced that a review would be held into a number of criminal cases in which Southall gave evidence for the prosecution, following allegations that Southall kept up to 4,450 personal case files on children patients which were kept separate from the official hospital records.
On 4 December 2007, Southall was struck off the medical register after being found guilty of professional misconduct by the General Medical Council.. Southall appealed this decision in the High Court, but the appeal was dismissed . In his judgement, Mr Justice Blake stated that Southall “had speculated on non-medical matters in an offensive manner entirely inconsistent with the status of an independent expert.”
Over the years the term Munchausen by Proxy has become a universal term and has even been used by vets to describe their clients as seen here in “Battered Pets” Munchausen by Proxy
There are also cases where mothers have been accused by the Local Education Authority when trying to access special needs provisions for their child/children. One such case, is the case of Jan Loxley-Blount which she speaks about at a conference held at the House of Lords in 2007.
Just Justice- Its that simple.
In another account Debbie Storey a mother of two boys with Asperger Syndrome was accused by a therapist BBC NEWS | Health | Asperger’s abuse inquiry pledged
It is very difficult for paediatricians to know if the case they are dealing with is a real case of MSBP abuse or if they have a genuinely sick child in front of them. If we look at the this document False Allegations of Child Abuse we see it is littered with examples where allegations of child abuse turn out to be false, sometimes resulting in huge miscarriages of justice .One case describes how a mother was jailed, accused of stabbing her child to death with scissors however it was later discovered that this little girl had fact been mauled to death by a pit bull terrier! Another case describes how a man spent 12 years in jail for the rape and murder of his niece. Later however when the autopsy and diagnoses were reviewed in 2005 the child was found to have died by choking on her own vomit caused by a stomach virus.
Over the past few years we have seen miscarriages of justice in the UK established by subsequent court verdicts .These cases are cases where mothers have been found guilty by the justice system but have later been proved innocent. It is clear that medical professionals have a different view on these cases and that is open to debate. Examples of these are
Angela and Ian Gay
Equally there have been miscarriages of justice in USA
Mullins-Johnson free after 12 years
Ryan Page and Jamie Page both cases found here.
However, some professionals believe there is more behind some miscarriages of justice than meets the eye.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown began writing about the cases of MSBP that she was seeing in the 1990’s she said that many of the cases she was seeing had one thing in common, the parents only had an accusation of MSBP after they insisted that the child was vaccine damaged . The first one she wrote about was in The Therapist in 1998.
She became increasingly concerned by what she was seeing, In September 1998 an article in ‘The Scotsman’ written by Stephen Breen said that Lisa Blakemore-Brown was convinced that mothers had been wrongly accused of having MSBP in at least 3 cases. She had complained to the General Medical Council and the Department of Health and asked for a public inquiry.
The only evidence of this article ever existing is in COSA Newsletter November-December 1998 – MENZ Issues
“Accusations of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy is the new witch hunt
Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP) is a very rare and dangerous condition where adults, usually mothers, deliberately harm their children to draw attention to themselves. It ranges from the mother feigning imaginary illness in the child to secure unnecessary medical attention to physically inducing sickness in the child.
It has recently become ‘over-diagnosed’ by some health professionals who are taking children into care after mistakenly accusing parents of harming their children.
The diagnosis should only ever be made where no alternative explanation for a child’s physical condition can be found and where there is clear evidence that the parent has deliberately made the child ill. Sadly it is becoming another witch-hunt which is destroying families. Mothers of children with chronic fatigue syndrome myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder and food allergies have been accused of causing their children to be ill.
British psychologist Lisa Blakemore-Brown is convinced mothers have been wrongly accused of having MSBP in at least three cases. She has complained to the General Medical Council and asked the Department of Health for a public inquiry.
(The Scotsman (29 Sep 1998). ‘Witch hunt’ warning in abuse scandal, by Stephen Breen)”
So if complaints were sent to the General Medical Council and the Department of Health for a public inquiry was asked for, what did happen to the complaints and why were they never followed up? Lisa may have been on the right track as according to records found, the Statistics of child abuse cases are said to be increasing at an alarming rate as are the cases in the media of parents stating their children have been vaccine damaged.
In an article called “Child abuse by the child protectors” by Charles Pragnell, Mr Pragnell who is an independent social care management consultant, a Child/Family Advocate, and an Expert Defence Witness – Child Protection, who has given evidence to Courts in cases in England, Scotland, and New Zealand he states that:-
“According to statistical evidence in 1992 and 1997, over two-thirds of reports of child abuse in the U.K. have NO substantive basis i.e. False and wrongful accusations. [Dept of Health Statistics]. Similar proportions of false accusations were evident during the same time period in the United States of America and in Australia. There is evidence that false accusations of child abuse are occurring for mistaken, mischievous, and malicious reasons”
In the document REFERRALS, ASSESSMENTS AND CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ON CHILD PROTECTION REGISTERS, ENGLAND – YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 2006 A steady increase in the referrals over the years can be seen. It states an increase of 17,300 from 2005 to 2006.
There were 569,300 referrals to social services departments in the year ending 31 March 2006, compared to the previous year’s figure of 552,000
In fact the number of children registered even with a few fluctuations has been rising slowly over the years, as we can see from this part of the chart taken from the site
According to National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children the figures are still rising
Child protection register statistics – England (2005-2009)
The chart shows an increase of 8200 children between 2005 and 2009 who were subjects of child protection plans for abuse..
|Category of abuse||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009|
|Mixed / not recommended by ‘Working Together’||3,000||2,700||2,700||2,500||2,900|
In the USA this is also the case. The figures from 1995 to 2007 were staggering
It says on the National Child Abuse Statistics – Childhelp that
“Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations.”
Their charts show an alarming increase from 1995 to 2007.
The figures for Australia were also on the rise according to Child abuse and neglect statistics – Resource Sheet – National …
Figures rose from 103.302 in 1998-1999 to 317.526 in 2007-2008
In Canada the same happened How common is child abuse in Canada? Although finding actual statistics for Canada was virtually impossible
“Child abuse is a common problem in Canada.
In the past ten years more and more people are reporting when they think a child is being abused or neglected. Also, police and child protection agencies are finding more children than ever who need protecting. Still, it is estimated that less than one in ten child abuse cases is ever reported to authorities.”
So how do doctors and social workers know who is abusing their child and who are the loving parents trying to do their best? This is the difficult question facing everyone in Child Protection teams from all over the world. On the one hand if they don’t investigate fully, children like Victoria Climbie aged 8 and Baby Jessica Randall, Who Was Murdered By Sadistic Dad, Was Failed … (who both tragically died in the hands of their family) will go on dying and on the other many more parents will be falsely accused and more mothers will end up wrongly imprisoned.
On 19th July 2005 a 104 page document widely known as The Consensus Document entitled “Misdirection of Social Policy” was drawn up by “Consensus”, a group of parents and professionals to outline flaws they saw in the system and to educate and advise those in authority as to how corrections and improvements could be made.
The document states that Department of Health guidelines on “MSBP” issued 2002 are phrased in such a way as to trigger referrals of parents to social workers even without any evidence.
These guidelines state:
“When a possible explanation for signs and symptoms is that they may be fabricated or induced by a carer and as a consequence the child’s health or development is likely to be impaired, a referral should be made to social services.”
The Consensus document outlines a number of cases where it was felt that mistakes were made and where families were falsely accused. These cases were all genuine cases (details were disguised to protect the families )to show the faults in the system and show how accused families, can, even years later still be fighting to clear their names and get their ill and disabled children’s needs met.
Damian Green, a Conservative front bench spokesman once said that he believed that the guidelines are encouraging social workers to be over zealous in their attempts to find MSBP. He said
“You have the possibility of huge injustices arising through the inflexibility of these guidelines which are based on questionable theories”
And Dr Lynne Wrennall says that
“The need to re-write relevant policy, protocols and guidance is imperative.”
After she came across a case of child who was found to have no organic cause for his illness. His parents were subsequently accused of MSBP only to later found child in fact had a brain tumor.
Misdiagnoses of Child Abuse Related in a Delay in Diagnosing a Paediatric brain Tumour
The Consensus Document “Misdirection of Social Policy“
It has been widely understood that MSBP type abuse exists and in the opening of the Consensus document it states this.
“It is accepted as a truth by Consensus that some parents (and some carers) do take actions – whether deliberately or negligently – which harm their children. Nothing in this document, here or elsewhere, should be taken for a suggestion that this does not happen. It does. In all probability, this unfortunate trait forms an innate part of the human condition; it has in all probability been with us from time immemorial; it has long been acknowledged as a proper basis for Child Protection. For the purposes of this paper, the proper issues are whether there is a ’syndrome’ to this effect; and whether this syndrome is accurately defined and accurately diagnosed; and whether this syndrome forms a helpful prism through which to view (and discern fault in) the ordinary traits and ordinary behaviours of humankind.”
The Consensus document goes on to explain how the present guidelines work in practice and this is paramount. I have shown part of the guidelines which are clearly not clear enough because this is what Consensus says can happen when professionals follow the guidelines to the ‘t’, on referral.
“2(i): How the Guidelines work in Practice
A. THE REFERRAL
The effect of the MSbP Guidelines is that parents can be referred to Social Services for MSbP – at any time, for any reason, by any person:
1. The Guidelines provide lists of ‘non-exhaustive’ factors (under scores of broad categories) which may indicate that parents may be guilty of harming their children.
2. Any of these factors (commonly present in normal parents and non-abused children) is regarded as sufficient to indicate that a child’s symptoms may be likely to have been fabricated or induced by a carer 3.
3. There is no need for an actual diagnosis.
4. If anyone thinks that the criteria may be satisfied, the Guidelines stipulate that a referral to Social Services should be made under Para 3.12: . “When a possible explanation for the signs and symptoms is that they may be fabricated or induced by a carer, and as a consequence the child’s health or development is or is likely to be impaired, a referral should be made to Social Services.”
5. Thereafter, Social Services are enjoined to treat the parents as though a real risk is present; and as though the parents are suspects against whom a case has already been made.
Following the guidelines, whether you are a Social worker or medical professional , you are “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” and if taken to the letter, they really could apply to absolutely any child brought into casualty. Also presuming that every professional who is dealing with the child/children is following the same set of Government guidelines then virtually everyone is looking for child abuse in every imaginable set of circumstances. I feel this is taking “political correctness” a step too far and is exactly in line with what the first line of section 2 of the Consensus is trying to point out.
“The effect of the MSbP Guidelines is that parents can be referred to Social Services for MSbP – at any time, for any reason, by any person:”
In 2(ii) of the Consensus it explains that parents are guilty whether they admit or deny the allegation.
2 (ii): How the Guidelines work in Practice
B. AFTER THE REFERRAL
Once a referral to Social Services has been made, the parents are trapped – whether they deny the accusations or admit them.
This is explained and goes on to say even a parent is also guilty if they insist their child is ill or if they try to co-operate.
4(i) to deny the accusations and insist the child has genuine medical problems
- this is interpreted by the Child Protection Committee as presenting a high-risk to the child 7
- such parents are “entrenched” in wrong thinking and cannot “change” their “perceptions”
- proceedings may be initiated for removal (irrespective of medical reports to the contrary)
(ii) to “work with” the Social Services and “admit” the child is well
- parents are coerced, under the threat of removal, into viewing their child “more positively”
- re-evaluations are limited to evaluating the change in the parent’s “perceptions”
- the child’s actual medical and educational needs are less likely to be met or considered”
Once a referral is made instead of being innocent until proven guilty the complete reverse is happening. At present the umbrella is too wide and the reason for this is that the Government guidelines are too broad. Everyone is trying their best “in the interest of the child” to follow them. The problem is how can professionals follow guidelines that are this broad? If they are not followed cases like Victoria Climbie are bound to happen, however if they are followed to the letter then thousands of innocent parents can be falsely accused.
As the Countess of Mar declared in a debate in the House of Lords in December 2003 (following Angela Cannings’ successful appeal against conviction in a case concerning MSbP equivalent to the stigma of witchcraft in the Middle Ages;) there is no trial, and no one is guilty until one can prove one is not guilty, and one has no way in which to prove one is not guilty.
All this leads to section 4 of the Consensus
“4. A Bleak Harvest?
Adverse consequences of the MSbP misadventure seem to include, each year: – multiple thousands of needless and damaging investigations
Adverse consequences of the MSbP misadventure seem to include, each year:
a. multiple thousands of needless and damaging investigations
b. widespread and wrongful removal of children from their parents
c. the potential for (or actuality of) wrongful criminal convictions
d. extreme familial disruption and needless personal ruination
e. misallocation of resources deflected from children in real need”
All in all, here we have an excellent document written to show how improvements could be made but it seems very few lessons have been learned. At the time the consensus was made public, a group of MPs and professionals known as ‘The Consensus Group’ were working with the Government, meeting and speaking together. These included Earl Howe, Labour MP Jon Cruddas, Dr Richard Taylor, Conservative MP Nick Gibb, Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone and Child Psychologist Lisa Blakemore-Brown. This no longer exists.
The Consensus document was written by a large group of professionals from various walks of life who saw a system was failing. It appeared that the result was that a large number of innocent parents were being accused of MSBP. These were parents with children who were sick or disabled that were being denied help. These professionals came together to discuss and draw up a document outlining what they saw going wrong and why. It was written for politicians and the Government, to advise where the problems were seen to be and where changes may be made, for this reason it was not a Scientific document but a consensus of views. There are many instances where opinions are sought from service users and professionals.
The recommendations should have been discussed further to allow further development of policy. This was the logical way forward. The document had no named author. This was to protect the identities of all the professionals due to the fear of harassment. Sadly the Consensus document was heavily criticized by the media and certain campaign groups, some of who never checked out the facts before voicing their opinions. Every opinion should count when there is a discussion of further improvements of policy. If the scientific community had reservations in accepting this document, they should have used it as a baseline to develop further larger studies containing a random group of cases. The recommendations could have been investigated further but it seems that the child protection specialists have so far failed to examine the issues to determine whether or not they can be implemented.
Specialists from the scientific community have mistaken it and compared the document to a scientific paper when it was simply a consensus of opinions and suggestions to be taken on board and perhaps examined in more detail.
The Consensus was written to effect change. This was a document to enable better guidelines and the changes suggested may have been implemented within government legislation. Recommendations were made and changes could have happened. The document was sadly shelved and gathers dust. The vast divide between child protection specialists and the parent population has caused a serious failure in communication. This in turn now results in falsely accused parents. Their real plight is often undermined or discarded. Various nefarious campaigning groups have overshadowed the true suffering of those who have been wrongly diagnosed. Perhaps this consensus document could be considered by the child protection specialists, government officials and those responsible for creating current policy. A proper robust policy should be developed to enable the protection of the child and the protection of the parent – equally.
PART 6: Panoramic Views
I recently came across a group of Professionals who call themselves PACA which is Professionals Against Child Abuse. PACA is a group of professionals who work in child protection who are there for one another. This group came together after several high profile cases where paediatricians and professionals had cases against them at the GMC. The homepage of their website says:
“Welcome to PACA
PACA (Professionals Against Child Abuse) is an association of professionals who care for children that came together in 2007 in response to several high-profile cases against paediatricians at the GMC”.
Whilst I can fully appreciate their need to come together and support each other, they should have children’s needs and welfare at heart instead of their own. I feel sad that they do not recognize that occasionally they do get it wrong and that they do not fully appreciate the impact of the stigma that goes with a false accusation. Professionals together make a powerful force to reckon with.
So what happens to the parents who have been falsely accused when the police have gone and social services have left?
Some of the lucky ones do get help. They meet professionals like Lisa Blakemore-Brown Child Psychologist, Expert Witness and Expert in Autism, Charles Pragnell, an independent social care management consultant, a Child/Family Advocate, and an Expert Defence Witness – Child Protection , Dr Helen Hayward-Brown, doctorate in the social sciences (interdisciplinary: sociology, anthropology, psychology) Earl Howe, House of Lords, Countess Mar, House of Lords, Michael Nott, Former Radio and Television Journalist, Clifford Miller UK Lawyer, Dr Michael Innis Pathologist and a Haematologist , Dr Harold Buttram MD, FAACP and various like-minded professionals throughout the world who do listen and care. These are all professionals who are prepared to go that extra mile. Unfortunately many child protection professionals are not and largely remain detached from the real situation.
Parents should not be treated like criminals. The sentence “innocent until proven guilty” should be respected. If the label MSBP has to be used then a clear precise criteria of what it is should be agreed. At present the umbrella is far too wide. There has to be clear set boundaries as to what does and does not amount to MSBP. For example can you really put “pictures on tee shirts” and parents who may be over anxious into the same category as someone who has been proven to put injections of faeces into the bloodstream of a child? If a parent appears over anxious or a little mis-guided then professionals should speak to them and reassure them, they may be afraid or in need of help and support. If a parent does need help need help then they should be referred to the relevant agencies . Is an accusation of child abuse really productive or counter-productive?
According to the evidence shown by Lisa Blakemore-Brown which has since been seen and backed by others, more and more families with Autistic children are being accused. Could this be because professionals are not understanding ASD fully, or because of the vast numbers now coming through the system? Could a MSBP label be a cover for vaccine injuries, put in place to quieten parents who ask too many questions or are a little too insistent that a vaccine injury is to blame? Lisa Blakemore- Brown and many like her certainly think so. If my case is used as an example then children are not being correctly diagnosed and parents are being accused of making up conditions and being told that their children are normal when it is blatantly obvious that they are not.
I would like to see professionals from all sides including the Government, sit down and discuss their views and opinions. They all have valid opinions and views and if they all worked together then a sensible realistic set of Guidelines could be drawn up. After all the key issue is the protection of the children. I realise this will never happen and I guess the MSBP war will rage on for eternity.
Professionals warned the Government this was happening many years ago so why is it still happening and why were these professionals suppressed?
Lisa Blakemore-Brown wrote to Jack Straw in 1996
It states in Guardian 2004 Ministers are told child harm theory was flawed : that
“Lisa Blakemore-Brown, a child psychologist and expert on autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, who, as chairwoman of an organisation called Promoting Parenting Skills acted as an adviser to the Home Office, wrote to then shadow secretary Jack Straw in 1996 warning that MSBP had resulted in a mother being wrongly separated from her children.”
She had mentioned her concerns several times, in the Psychologist letter in 1997 and in an article in the “The Therapist” in 1998. This was a year after Sir Roy Meadow had himself written an article for The Therapist. On reading Lisa Blakemore-Browns letter in the “Psychologist” the Editor of the The Therapist contacted Lisa Blakemore-Brown to ask if she would write an article showing the opposite view to start debate.
Blakemore-Brown first mentioned the possible vaccine link as early as 1996 but instead of her concerns being taken seriously, attempts to destroy her career and discredit her reputation have continued ever since. One has to wonder why this is.
MSBP was once thought to be a rare syndrome but today more and more cases are coming to light. Are more parents abusing their children if so why? I heard of one professional bragging in an interview that he had spotted 70 cases locally and that he could spot an abusive parent a mile off. That is scary especially if true. Is his area typical or was it because he was taking the guidelines so literally that he was spotting more cases than he should have been?
So is there help out there for parents like me? Well there is a little. Attitudes are slowly changing through cases being publicised and highlighted showing injustice, Governments are being forced to sit up and listen. There are campaign groups operating and a few Internet forums. I have listed a few below to help.
I realize in writing these articles I may come under further attack. It may well be seen as more of my “attention seeking behaviour”. Of course this I feel will justify my accusers, by making them feel they were right all along. My reason for writing this is not to get attention but to educate professionals, especially those just qualifying and the general public to understand the term MSBP and just what damage can be done when attaching this label falsely to a parent or care giver. I particularly wanted to highlight how parents of many vaccine injured children are now being falsely accused. I also want to help other parents who have been falsely accused to feel that they are not alone.
One day maybe professionals will stop and think. They may decide to do further tests and not be so keen to accuse parents and carers of abuse.
Just a small note to end this series of articles with, my Social Services did inform my MP after many meetings with them trying to get my data cleared that “I had been cured of MSBP during the process”. However cured or not my data is yet to be cleared.
I would like to say a special thank you to all the professionals who helped me personally, especially Lisa Blakemore-Brown who is an amazing and remarkable lady. I would urge her to carry on with her wonderful work despite the terrible damage that has been done to her because of her beliefs and outspokenness. To the many who will criticize me, I would like to say I am not a bad person just a mother who tries her best for two children she loves very much. I may have made mistakes and I do get things wrong, I am human and a parent and we all do. There is no manual for parents to follow, we have no guidelines it’s the professionals who have those. They are the ones protected by unions not us parents, our job is to protect our children but who protects us when things go wrong?
Fassit – a support and information forum
Unity Injustice -a support and information forum
Fathers 4 Justice – father’s campaign group
Justice for Families
Pro Bono Unit
Free Representation Unit
European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights – Applicant Section
Parents and Children’s Rights
Children Rights Alliance
Every Child Matters
The Law Society Directory