AIBU to think that father may have taken this to court to get his own back on ex-wife

(158 Posts)
LoveSewingBee Fri 11-Oct-13 22:47:31

Court has decided that two girls will be given MMR jab against their own wishes and against wishes of their mother

I am all for vaccinating, but surely this will be very traumatic especially for the vegan girl. I really think that it is wrong what their father has done here and this is being done to get his own back on his ex.

What do you think?

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 22:53:12

I think it's difficult to justify inflicting vaccination on girls of that age who do not want to be vaccinated. Their father has every right to try to persuade them and point out the benefits and, in his opinion and that of many people, the lack of risk. I do not agree that he has the right to go to law to force them - although clearly this particular judge disagrees with me.

Judges are in a position of authority and I suspect this means they do have a tendency to lean towards the rulings of other figures/organisations of authority. (Although not all judges all the time, I suspect there is a degree of pull there.)

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 22:53:58

Oops, meant to add, you could well be right about this being really about the father imposing his will on his ex-wife.

You might be right that the father is" imposing his will on his ex-wife", on the other hand he may be trying to do the best he can for his daughters. I strongly support vaccination for the MMR and if my DH decided otherwise I would fight him every step of the way.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 22:59:34

Justit - but these aren't babies or toddlers, they are 15 and 11. And the father was anti-MMR - he's changed his mind. So I think it's more complicated and less straightforward than 'one parent wrong, one parent right'. And I really don't see that this is a matter for the courts.

LoveSewingBee Fri 11-Oct-13 23:03:44

I feel especially for the fifteen year old. This must be really traumatic for her.

I am very much in favour of vaccination, but not forcing. The measles outbreak has passed, so I don't think that this is a good reason either. Clearly, at the heart of the measles outbreak, and if they were right in that area, that may have been different.

Poor girls.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 11-Oct-13 23:04:53

I don't think there is enough information about the family in that article to be able to form any sort of judgement about the Fathers motives.

A lot of people have changed their minds over the MMR in recent years, especially when they have children a similar age to the girls in question. At the time they will have made their decision there were doubts all over the media for years about the safety of MMR. A lot has changed since then, so I don't think it's fair to jump to the conclusion that this parent wants to vaccinate his children out of spite for their mother just because he's a separated man.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:05:21

It's not going to do her relationship with her Dad much good, is it? And what's he going to do if she refuses point blank to get in the car and go to the appointment, or refuses to go into the consulting room?

CoconutRing Fri 11-Oct-13 23:06:24

OP, you are right. It smacks of the father exerting power and control over his ex. If the vaccinations go ahead, I suspect the relationships between the father and children will be damaged beyond repair.

hettienne Fri 11-Oct-13 23:06:49

I think the 15 year old certainly is likely to be old enough to make her own medical decisions. The 11 year old I'm not so sure.

Either way I'm not sure how it will be possible to force children of that age to have an injection if they don't want it. No doctor/nurse is going to physically pin them down.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:07:01

It's not the father's position on vaccination that makes you wonder about his motives, it's going to court over it. Seems like an extraordinarily strong step to take, especially going against the clear wishes of his children, given they are 11 and 15.

It sounds just as likely that the mother has deliberately influenced the girls against the jab, by talking about the components of the jab and being incompatible with being a vegan. I wonder if she would feel the same way about other medications that no doubt contain the same things/ have been tested on animals? or whether she has only raised it to persuade her daughter to her own point of view.

What the hell are they going to do? Hold them down? It is utterly ridiculous and a complete waste of money and time. I am very pro-vax but this is ludicrous.

Mmmbacon Fri 11-Oct-13 23:09:05

But whats to say the next outbreak won't be in her area, at school, college or university, plenty of people realised the importance of vaccination due to outbreak, and a father is as entitled as a mother to change his mums on what is in the beast interest of the children,

LoveSewingBee Fri 11-Oct-13 23:09:12

Also the fact that the father's sollicitor contacted the mother to tell her to have the girls vaccinated or otherwise father would take it to court. Doesn't suggest great communication between the two ...

LoveSewingBee Fri 11-Oct-13 23:11:30

I really think that especially the wishes of the fifteen year old should be respected. By all means, argue with her, show available evidence, explain the dangers of not vaccinating, but forcing her .... seems inhumane to me.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:11:33

Yes, he's clearly able to change his mind, no, that doesn't mean he automatically gets to order his ex-wife and children to obey his new decision. Only he has, he's gone to court to make sure they do what they are told. All seems very distasteful.

LoveSewingBee Fri 11-Oct-13 23:12:45

I suppose their is no appeal to this decision as it was the High Court????

Well, as the judge heard both sides and judged that the mother had influenced the girls against their better interests, that neither girl had questioned the jab until she put in her pennyworth (which she is entitled to do), then I think that we have to accept that this is the case. The article gives very little to go on, and one assumes that having heard all the evidence (which we haven't) they decided that this was in the best interest of the children.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:17:41

JFL, I don't think that's fair or accurate. 'Neither girl had questioned the jab until the mother put in her twopennyworth' - what are you on about? The parents made a joint decision not to vaccinate when the children were too small to be aware of any decision being made - toddlers and age 3 or 4 for pre-school booster.

Edam - to quote the article - the officer said that when she asked them what would happen if they became ill with measles, mumps or rubella and needed medicine, they clearly had not thought about what the ingredients in that medicine might be. AT what point do YOU think they questioned what was in the jab?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 11-Oct-13 23:28:48

As a parent who has had to seek help from the courts to prevent the other parent preventing medical treatment

I think sometimes it is needed that's what these types of orders are there for to be used when both parents cannot agree.

Children can be like little sponges who will absorb info provided by their parents sometimes that info is biased miss informed and does not take into account the bigger picture.

Whilst logistically its going to be hard to enforce he has just as much right as the mother to make this decision his perception of risk is just as valid as hers as they could not agree its down to the courts to make a decision that mainly takes into account the best interests of the children

celestialsquirrels Fri 11-Oct-13 23:29:48

These cases are not uncommon ie where one parent is anti vaccination and the other brings it to court for a judge to decide.
Absent specific health issues for the kids, it is difficult to see how a judge can do anything but follow current medical advice which is to immunise and that has always been the result in the cases i have seen. I will admit that the cases I have been aware of have involved younger children, but a 15yo is still a child and if that child is making ill informed decisions influenced by the non-vaccine parent... Well you can see the issue.

CoconutRing Fri 11-Oct-13 23:31:37

I always thought vaccination was optional.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:39:46

Sock - but if children are 'like little sponges' then surely they will be absorbing information from both sets of parents? (I'm not sure a 15yo is anything like a sponge, tbh, most 15yos of my acquaintance are only to happy to argue with their parents.)

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:40:10

(both parents, even, dunno where set crept in from. Except I'm also reading the maths thread.)

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 11-Oct-13 23:40:26

Coconut it is optional but where both parents have PR they both get to choose.

If viewpoints between parents differ then someone has to decide

Finola1step Fri 11-Oct-13 23:45:45

My goodness, poor kids.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 11-Oct-13 23:45:49

Edam your right but 15 yo girls are not exactly unknown for going on ethical crusades ( for want of a better word) if one parent blindly colludes and the other does not its not exactly rocket science to work out which one they are going to listen to.

balia Fri 11-Oct-13 23:57:42

It's all very well nodding sagely and deciding that this is a father 'asserting his will' over the mother, but as another poster said, if you have been in the position where one parent is denying medical treatment to a child, and getting the child on side by giving their own very biased views - what choice do you have, other than court?

Wheatus Sat 12-Oct-13 07:51:03

It may be traumatic to be vaccinated, it may affect the relationship with the father.

But would it be as traumatic as contracting measles?

Sometimes tough decisions have to be made that are in the best interests of the children, this is one, hopefully they'll appreciate the decision when they're older.

HouseOfGingerbread Sat 12-Oct-13 08:01:05

The judge's decision was made on the basis that the girls didn't show a clear medical understanding of the risks - they described measles as 'just a rash' - and as another poster has pointed out, there objections to ingredients didn't extend to other medications. Yes it's weird because they're older and articulate, but a young man died during the recent measles outbreak in Wales -I can understand the father's fears.

Clearly communication on this issue isn't good, but that may not mean all communication is bad, as in the NeonRoberts case, pperhaps they just recognised the need for external adjudication.

sashh Sat 12-Oct-13 08:03:27

The parents made a joint decision not to vaccinate when the children were too small to be aware of any decision being made - toddlers and age 3 or 4 for pre-school booster.

Read the article, the 15 year old had the first jab, not the booster.

Also read the bit where they were questioned and both knew the ingredients of MMR but had not thought about medicines they would have to take if they got measles.

Smoorikins Sat 12-Oct-13 08:06:06

I think the girls are old enough to make a choice. There are still doubts about MMR, regardless of people saying otherwise.

Large out of court settlements have been made in the US. Why would a business pay to keep a case out of court if they felt the law was on their side?

Having said that, I really can't say what his motivations are. And I wouldn't like to speculate.

Tattiesthroughthebree Sat 12-Oct-13 08:15:20

How close is the elder girl to 16? What happens if the elder girl evades the vaccination until she turns 16? Can she then decide not to have it at all?

KirjavaTheCorpse Sat 12-Oct-13 09:06:17

Poor girls.

DustBunnyFarmer Sat 12-Oct-13 09:24:21

The older girl is interesting as she is probably old enough to give her consent - or not - under the Gillick competence criteria, but it sounds like she didn't have a sufficient understanding of risks etc.

I think this case throws up some really interesting questions about what's going to happen over the next couple of years as all these unvaccinated children start heading off to university and start mixing. There are already meningitis outbreaks occasionally in higher education. It would be really sad if we get measles outbreaks and people start losing their 18+ year old kids, having breathed a sigh of relief about getting them safely to adulthood and on to the next stage of their life. People generally underestimate the importance of good population level 'herd immunity'.

Rather than assuming the father is trying to control the mother, perhaps he's seen coverage of the south Wales outbreak and realised how vulnerable his unvaccinated daughters are.

Hissy Sat 12-Oct-13 09:46:49

There are plenty of unvaccinated people in this country, they don't get taken to court, and a judge doesn't order them to go ahead.

I believe in vaccination, but I respect the choices of those who choose not to. This woman is far from being alone in actively choosing not to vaccinate. It isn't compulsory, she's committed no crime.

The court ought to have told the father to discuss it with his daughters, not waste court time compelling them to.

NotYoMomma Sat 12-Oct-13 09:48:11

I had a huge needle phobia at that age which has taken me 2 children, therapy and hypnotherapy to just about manage

this man is a fucking dickhead

NotYoMomma Sat 12-Oct-13 09:48:57

ps I am totally pro vaccination but at that age the wishes of the girls should be respected

Golferman Sat 12-Oct-13 09:50:44

The judge made the right decision.

Mellowandfruitful Sat 12-Oct-13 09:53:27

It's a shame vaccination isn't compulsory IMO. Then this would have been done when they were small and there would be no issue.

Pagwatch Sat 12-Oct-13 09:53:49

It's stupid. The idea of forcing a 15 year old girl to be injected against her will is deeply unpleasant.

We are not talking about life saving medical treatment. It's a preventative step. My DD hasn't had the vaccination and is 11. She's not teetering on the edge of disaster.

The whole thing is dick waving.

edam Sat 12-Oct-13 10:03:12

Telegraph today says the court order issued by the judge is up either today or shortly. I'm not sure whether that means the mother could be punished for failing to make her daughter have the vaccination, or merely failing to make her available for her father to make her have the vaccination.

Bowlersarm Sat 12-Oct-13 10:07:33

Poor girls.

I doubt their relationship with their father can recover, after being made to do something against their will.

Bowlersarm Sat 12-Oct-13 10:08:30

....something to ^thejr* bodies, against their will....

Suzieismyname Sat 12-Oct-13 10:10:10

Sensible result. From what I've read the parents made their initial decision when the girls were babies/toddlers based on the Andrew Wakefield MMR bad science. He's since come to his senses and she hasn't!

HexU Sat 12-Oct-13 10:21:30

I'm pro vaccination and having it would be in the girls long term medical interest especially if they live in an outbreak area.

However I did wonder if this was all a result of Dad trying to exercise control over ex-wife and DC rather than a sudden change in beliefs.

I also can't image it will do much for the DC relationship with the Dad.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 10:27:09

I believe in vaccination, but I respect the choices of those who choose not to. This woman is far from being alone in actively choosing not to vaccinate. It isn't compulsory, she's committed no crime

But she does not have the right to make the decision totally independently of the other parent when that other parent also has PR. both parents get to choose.

Civil courts are not about crimes family court is civil.they are there for when both parents cannot agree about issues they perceive to be important.

bochead Sat 12-Oct-13 10:27:30

I feel sorry that this risks completely wrecking the relationship between the 15 year old and her dad. For me this factor means that I think that on this occasion ONLY the court hasn't acted in the best long term interests of the child (unless of course she has a compromised immune system that's not being reported on cos of confidentiality?).

The 11 year old's case is more clear cut legally, but I still despise BOTH parents for allowing this to get to court. Relationships are more important than dogma imho. Parenting is always going to involve some element of compromise somewhere along the line, whether it be with the demands of the school, your employer, finances or the other parent. Neither parent seems capable of recognising this, to the detriment of their kid's emotional security & that's just wrong.

Tbh if were the mother I would have agreed to the jab in order to preserve my child's relationship with her other parent & to keep it all out of court. I'm not impressed with Mum's behavior either.

Unless there was a clear medical reason why her specific child was more at risk that others from the jab (bad reaction to previous jab perhaps, resulting in hospitalisation? It happens) then MUM was being just as selfish as the Dad in allowing this to become a matter for the courts in the first place.

If the 15 year old then still refuses to go for the jab after Mum's agreed?Well she's old enough to take contraception, have sex or an abortion in the eyes of the law, so she's old enough to research the costs and benefits of this vaccine and decide for herself imho. there is nothing reported to suggest she has impaired intellectual capacity.

The law on teens and medical treatments, has always seemed nuts to me. You can give an 11 year old boy condoms or a 14 year old girl an abortion without parental consent, but you can't give them a paracetomol?

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 10:29:15

It's possible that's what he's done, I guess. It's also equally possible that, like a lot of people who believed the Wakefield stuff at the time, he changed his mind in the light of further developments and/or the current measles epidemic. Nothing wrong with re-evaluating your priorities. We all remember those lines outside the clinics in Swansea. So there are certainly very sound medical reasons for wishing the jab now. We have had a measles epidemic, the girls are unprotected, and as there is no mention made of any medical reason why they shouldn't be vaccinated, they will be in that vast majority of the population for whom vaccine damage is a much smaller risk than the disease itself. Obviously that doesn't necessarily mean the father's aims are so laudable, though.

With regards to the ages, I have no ethical problem with it for the 11 year old. It would take an unusually mature and well informed child of that age to be competent to make such a decision, and she obviously isn't it. The court is infinitely better placed to assess her best interests than she is. Harder to say with the 15 year old- she doesn't appear to have full understanding of the issue either, as she thinks measles is just a rash. But she's much closer to adulthood. If I were her, I'd feel very sorry for myself having a procedure i didn't want inflicted on me. But equally, I'd have done what the dad did in his position. Better a pissed off 15 year old than one dead or seriously disabled from a vaccine preventable disease.

NotYoMomma Sat 12-Oct-13 10:30:11

this isnt a pro vax debate imo

im pro vax but also pro choice re our own bodies. the girls should not be forced into this.

NotYoMomma Sat 12-Oct-13 10:32:58

pissed off 15 year old? I would never have spoken to my father ever again if he forced me to have a needle atthat age

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 10:43:36

The 15 year old has been assessed as not having the competency with regard to making this particular decision, that means she does not fit the criteria to be making the decision for herself.

As unpalatable as it sounds that means its down to the parents to actually parent her.

I think a 15 year old has the capacity to decide for themselves whether they want any medical/treatment or intervention. I think it's an appalling decision. Forced vaccination? Not in anyone's interest.

I haven't vaccinated my younger children because of what happened to my eldest but I already talk about it with my 11 year old (pros & cons) & if he came to me at 15 & said he wanted to be vaccinated I would arrange it for him (even though I do not think it in his best interests) because at 15 he has capacity.

Likewise if he was advised to have medical treatment but didn't want it then at 15 I would listen to him. (And his younger brother when older as well).

A father forcing a child to undergo any procedure when they are old enough to actively decide against is pretty appalling.

I would expect this decision in a younger case but am pretty shocked a 15 year old's opinion wasn't listened to.

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 10:54:24

What, all 15 year olds? We have the Gillick criteria for a reason. Also, the 15 year old's opinion was listened to, or the welfare officer wouldn't have had any idea what it was. If you mean you think the 15 year old's opinion ought to have been definitive by all means say so, it's a reasonable point to make. Listening to a child's views isn't the same thing as being governed by them, though.

Wrt 'not having capacity for this decision' almost seems to be saying there is only one acceptable view of vaccinations (I bet if she'd wanted it & had been at court about that she would have been deemed to have capacity & therefore allowed to decide to have it).

Wonder what will happen if she kicks and screams and refuses the injection. Are medical staff actually going up forcibly inject her? Or will they deem her to be non-consenting?

I've worked with children not capable of giving consent (that was given by parents) but had children shown in their actions that they were not consenting I wouldn't have continued with what I was doing (in one case didn't).

I think capacity doesn't mean only being allowed to make ''correct" decisions.

PeppiNephrine Sat 12-Oct-13 10:58:35

He's looking out for their health. He cares about his children. They should have had the mmr years ago but were put off by the idiotic scaremongering.

Where do you get off accusing him of doing it to get back at his wife? Its stereotypical, its offensive to seperated fathers as a group. Maybe she wouldn't let them have it when they should have done to get at him?

Probably both of them just think that they are doing the best for their children. It says more about you that you would automatically assume such other purposes, its small minded and judgemental.

This is an NHS publication about consent

Think it's a bit dodgy suggesting someone a few months off their 16th birthday can't make her own decision.

Tbh if she kicks & screams & shows non-consent I would be stunned if any medical professionals agreed to give it anyway. They have always been very reluctant to hold down a kicking screaming non-compliant ds1, even for necessary treatment (such as x ray for potentially broken ankle - that was left untreated in the end because they couldn't work out how to do it in a way that he would consent to).

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 11:08:03

Its not about if she made a correct decision or not.

She did not have the capacity to for-fill the criteria required to demonstrate she had made an actual decision rather than was just parroting one parents viewpoints and had not looked at the bigger picture.

People can make what other people consider to be the wrong decision and the courts often order in favour of no medical treatment.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 11:10:57

Saintly, lots of over 18 year olds are deemed to be unable to give consent for medical treatment.

Its not just decided on age alone

My point is that for vaccinations only the 'pro' argument is accepted as demonstrating capacity. Look at this thread 'mentioning disease & death from measles with no mention of permanent disability from vaccination (it happens).

Also a bit odd that they would override her vegan objections (considering they don't override religious objections eg to pork).

Sockreturning - not unless they come under the mental capacity act. At 16 children, if NT are deemed capable of consenting & parental consent is not sought (unless it's someone like ds1 who will never be capable of consent).

Viviennemary Sat 12-Oct-13 11:15:01

I don't think these girls should be vaccinated against their wishes. It is a strange case. It sounds like two divorced parents playing a power game.

babybarrister Sat 12-Oct-13 11:16:11

The judge is one of the most sensible, sensitive and compassionate people you could ever care to meet. She would have considered this case very carefully and would have been very well aware of the parental dynamics at play. None of us were there to hear all the evidence - I rather suspect that the girls were in fact NOT that opposed but rather gave wishy washy answers as if they had been very adamant - particularly the 15 year old, I doubt she would have made the order.

We have some really good judges out there and Mrs Justice Theis is one of them. The public need to regain their confidence in judicial decision making

Here - from the gmc 'at 16 a young person can be presumed to have capacity'

That's unless they have a learning disability in which case the mental capacity act comes into play.

There's no indication that this is the care here - if it were it would be an easier case.

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 11:21:24

I may be wrong but it must be quite rare for a 15 year old girl to be professionally assessed as lacking the ability and understanding to make a medical decision about herself.

Many 13 year olds are Gillick Competent and are listened to so perhaps this girl is particularly vulnerable in some way? I cannot imagine this court ruling would ever to the majority of 15 year olds at all.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 11:22:07

Saintly she's 15 not 16

diaimchlo Sat 12-Oct-13 11:39:08

This is a situation caused by 2 parents who obviously lack the common decency of communicating on important issues regarding their DCs.

Looking at the article I think the right judgement has been made. 11 and 15 are not good ages to be making decisions that may inadvertently affect their future well-being. As a teenager tends to follow a cause that they wholeheartedly believe in 1 week and another the next week.... it is all part of maturing.

The main focus in the thread has been on Measles a nasty illness that can have horrific consequences, but so can Mumps (in males) and rubella in females, as if they contract it through pregnancy it can cause deafness and blindness in their baby.

For those of you that are slating the judgement would you be doing the same if it were a 11 or 15 year old needing a blood transfusion to survive but the parents were arguing due to religious beliefs?

PeppiNephrine Sat 12-Oct-13 11:49:12

^The welfare officer said both children had been strongly influenced by their mother, who was very anxious about the jab.

Mrs Justice Theis decided that it was in the best interests of the children that they were vaccinated.

"I am aware that this is against the girls' wishes but that that it is not the only factor," she wrote. "The court also has to consider their level of understanding of the issues involved and what factors have influenced their views. I do not consider there is a balanced level of understanding by them of the issues involved."^

Fair play to her for doing the right thing.

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 12:10:36

Saintly you're simply guessing that the pro argument would've been accepted as demonstrating capacity. Nothing to back it up at all, so your claim that only the pro argument is considered to demonstrate capacity is just that- a claim. I agree that if positions were reversed, the order to vaccinate would likely still have been made, as it's the mainstream medical position. But the court would still have had to do the exact same exercise wrt the children's wishes and understanding if it had been eg the father trying to get an order for them to be vaccinated.

Also, people in this thread actually have mentioned that vaccine injury is a risk- I have, anyway.

edam Sat 12-Oct-13 12:17:16

babybarrister, that is an interesting and reassuring reference for the judge from (I assume) professional knowledge of her. Thanks.

The thing is though, what are they going to do if both girls refuse to be vaccinated? Are they actually going to pull them in the room kicking and screaming, hold them down and jab a needle in their arm? Because I think they'd be on very dodgy grounds if they did, couldn't they be done for assault, holding someone against their will etc?

Pagwatch Sat 12-Oct-13 12:35:55


The blood transfusion is a totally different scenario.
I have referred in all my posts to this situation being a non life saving situation.

I agree with your opening point totally . The fact that two parents can let this situation to this point is utterly stupid. Any suggestion that either are acting for the good of the children is nonsense.

However she reached this point, a 15 year old girl is going to be forced to have a procedure she doesn't want. Awful.
Everyone involved should be ashamed.

PeppiNephrine Sat 12-Oct-13 12:38:18

Actually she probably isn't. If you read the article it says so.
And it sounds like its her mother that doesn't want it. If the girl had a strongly held well thought out opinion it would have been presented at court.
She didn't.

JakeBullet Sat 12-Oct-13 12:54:35

I must admit to being pretty pro vaccines but this case left an uncomfortable feeling with me. It certainly crossed my mind that it could be a power trip by the Dad....I know it isn't definite but even so.

Then again neither of the girls could justify properly why they didn't want the vaccine and they had extensive discussions to clarify this. Both repeated what their mum was saying.

I wonder how they will enforce this though.

Hissy Sat 12-Oct-13 13:34:31

If my son's dad wrote to me to tell me do do anything or he'd take me to court, i'd tell him to go fuck himself.

If he disagrees with a parenting decision, then his responsibility would have been to educate his children, presuming he even has a good relationship with frequent contact and make sure that they were working on the facts.

By bulldozing in, threatening his ex, and his kids, further dragging it into court and get someone to side with him, he's more than violated his position with his children.

The only sensible decision by the court would have been to arrange proper access and instruction on the vaccines, the ingredients, the pros and cons and support these young people to make an informed decision.

Forcing a vaccine against anyone's will is wrong. This is not life saving, it's potentially reducing risk of contagion only.

With freedom comes responsibility; we as a society need to make sure people are educated and understand their available choices, not make their own choices for them. We need to understand that we are free to make our own decisions, and that we are responsible for the consequences.

Hissy Sat 12-Oct-13 13:35:43

The second he being this dad with the lawyer. Sorry, on phone!

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 13:42:27

The Dad brought this to court perhaps for "power trip" motives or perhaps out of genuine concern - who knows.

BUT the court ruled that this 15 year old girl is not mentally capable of making her own decisions. This is highly unusual. Most 15 year olds (and even children much younger than 15) would have been found fit to make their own choice and have that choice respected.

Therefore whatever the Dad's original motives, he was judged to be right in saying that the girl had made a decision not based on rational and considered thought - she is judged not capable of knowing what is best for her.
Anyone is entitled to make any decision they want as long as they are mentally fit enough to weigh up the pros and cons. The experts and judge decided that this girl isn't so perhaps the Dad had a point - there must be something pretty exceptional in the background to this for her not to be competent by the age of 15.

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 13:44:35

The only sensible decision by the court would have been to arrange proper access and instruction on the vaccines, the ingredients, the pros and cons and support these young people to make an informed decision.

Both girls were judged to lack the capability to make any rational and informed decision. That's the whole point. They were assessed by experts and this was the view. If they'd been found to be capable of reaching an informed decision, they would have been listened to.

Hissy Sat 12-Oct-13 14:26:18

Being assessed is very far from attending a course, receiving instruction, over time and without pressure to reach an informed decision.

Agreed, we don't know the full ins and outs, but forcing children to do something against their will is wrong, doing nothing now, arranging education, and reviews in a period of time would be better.

This is not like the Neon case where he'd most likely have died or had his prognosis seriously affected without the treatment. This is 'only' vaccination.

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 14:37:21

Hissy the problem with your plan of educating the girls is that whatever the children themselves wanted, the parents were in disagreement. He possibly could have successfully persuaded them, yes. But if their mother was still absolutely opposed, she could have gone to court to obtain an order to prevent the vaccinations. I suppose theoretically he could have persuaded them and got it done on the quiet without her consent, but that's not a great approach either.

redcaryellowcar Sat 12-Oct-13 14:37:44

sorry I haven't read whole thread, but I do think that it is ridiculous that the 15 year old could take herself to the doctors set herself up for regular or emergency contraception and the doctor not tell her parents, which I think is absolutely right yet a judge can force her to have a vaccination against her wishes (Idon't want to make this about something its not but merely an illustration that she is some areas of medicine and her on health is deemed perfectly capable of making informed choices)
I do feel it is possibly a bit of the father exerting power and using justice system for his own gain.
I am not sure if separate vaccination were discussed as I believe both measles and rubella are available privately for a lot less than the cost of taking this case to the high court!

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 14:41:06

I also wondered about separate vaccinations. Obviously some people wouldn't even be ok with that, though.

tiggytape Sat 12-Oct-13 14:48:43

redcar - That is not the case.
Most 15 year olds can do all the things you say but if a 15 year old isn't capable of making informed decisions then their parents have to decide. A Dr would not treat a 15 year old in confidence if the Dr believed the 15 year old wasn't mentally capable of giving medical consent or understanding the issues.

The 15 year old involved in this case is not deemed capable of making medical decisions which is very rare. This means that her parents must deicide for her. They cannot agree. So the judge must decide for her. The judge decided she needs to be vaccinated.

Yes I agree I am assuming a judge/dr whatever would be more likely to assume capacity if the child were agreeing with majority opinion - especially in the case of vaccinations.

I wonder what will happen if she refuses consent in the consulting room, either by kicking or screaming it even simply refusing to roll up her sleeve. I would be stunned if any medical professional force vaccinated her. Either of them actually. I have just remembered hearing about a teenager locally with AS who was very anxious about needles. He kicked off so much that even though parental consent had been given he wasn't vaccinated.

And what happens if it doesn't happen before the girl is 16 - according to GMC & NHS documents it is usual to assume capacity at that age. Unless the girl has learning disabilities I think it would be hard up argue she wasn't capable of making her own decision.

PumpkinGuts Sat 12-Oct-13 15:02:01

A 15 year old should have total autonomy over her own body and I think she will really struggle with father after this. I agree with pag that this is dick waving.

Hissy Sat 12-Oct-13 15:02:05

.. or the decision could have been left to the girls themselves..

At this age, the parents have very little right to demand one thing or another if it's not actually a legal requirement.

norkmonster Sat 12-Oct-13 15:02:17

Gillick only permits children to consent - it doesn't necessarily work the other way and allow them to refuse (very simplistic interpretation).
I suspect in this case that the court believed the children to have been heavily influenced by the mother, who presumably is the parent with care, and therefore have made the order on the basis that their wishes and feelings are not their own.

norkmonster Sat 12-Oct-13 15:08:56

A child can be Gillick competent and consent to treatment yet also be unable to refuse treatment - it all depends on the child's understanding of the individual decision.

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 15:10:00

It's usual to assume capacity at 16 saintly but many, many people over that age have been considered to lack it. Age isn't a barrier, in that respect. When you have a 15 year old who's considered to basically have less capacity for informed consent than the vast majority of people her age, which is what has happened here, yes there's a reasonable chance that will continue past her birthday. Not certain, of course. Wrt to how they'd force procedures on her, no idea of the practicalities. There's probably an NHS policy to be followed, as it's not particularly uncommon. Perhaps MNers in the field could tell us?

quoteunquote Sat 12-Oct-13 15:45:04

But the discrediting of concerns about an MMR autism link and recent measles outbreaks changed the father's view.

the start of this quote from Carl Sagan should be taken on board when making new decisions.

In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day

Lots of parents were duped by Andrew Wakefield,

The father in this case has taken on the new information and is trying to implement it, to protect his children, very odd to imply he is doing it out of spite, when all the available evidence supports his stance.

Alwin Toffler said, " The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ”

Sir Harold Kroto gave us, "Scientist have a responsibility,or at least I feel I have a responsibility to ensure that what I do is for the benefit of the human race, It is important that we try to point out facts to help those in power make decisions, unfortunately, this is not often the case, although knowledge cannot guarantee good decisions, common sense suggests that wisdom is an unlikely consequence of ignorance."

If anyone has any evidence that proves that immunisations are more dangerous that not being immunised, write it down and get peer reviewed.

Because the trotting out of ignorance, does cost lives.

and as I am in the mood for quotes,

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

Parents are meant to do what is best for their children, this father is trying to do that, these children have an ignorant mother, but the OP opens with I really think that it is wrong what their father has done here and this is being done to get his own back on his ex.

Yet what he asking for is a layer of proven protection to his children's lives.

Wheatus Sat 12-Oct-13 16:02:00

What does 'dick waving' mean?

Quote - I'm sorry I don't see your post as relevant. The issue isn't the MMR/autism case at all here. I have refused all vaccinations for my younger children & never had my capacity questioned (indeed they would struggle as I have a PhD in a science subject).

Vaccinations do come with a risk - however small - and are not compulsory, therefore people such as myself are allowed to refuse to take that risk & that is accepted. It is not questioned at all in fact a number of medics have agreed with it but anyway my capacity is accepted & so I can make that decision

Chunderella - I do understand what you are saying but in real life practice in the absence of learning disabilities (or a high court case) capacity is generally assumed at 16. By 18 there would certainly be no issue at all with someone refusing to be vaccinated.

Furthermore in my experience when someone lacking capacity shows an unwillingness to agree to a medical procedure (eg by requiring excessive restraint to have the procedure carried out) it is usual for the procedure not to be performed. Even if those who are acting to give consent have done so.

By 18, assuming no learning disabilities I mean. I have never had to prove capacity to refuse vaccinations.

Wheatus Sat 12-Oct-13 16:05:43

poster babybarrister Sat 12-Oct-13 11:16:11

'The judge is one of the most sensible, sensitive and compassionate people you could ever care to meet. She would have considered this case very carefully and would have been very well aware of the parental dynamics at play. None of us were there to hear all the evidence - I rather suspect that the girls were in fact NOT that opposed but rather gave wishy washy answers as if they had been very adamant - particularly the 15 year old, I doubt she would have made the order.

We have some really good judges out there and Mrs Justice Theis is one of them. The public need to regain their confidence in judicial decision making'

I'm going with babybarrister.
Sounds very on the ball.

PeppiNephrine Sat 12-Oct-13 16:11:35

I always wonder why randoms on the internet think they know better than the judge, who heard all of the evidence and used their considerable talents to adjudicate, based on a short news article and their own uninformed and biased opinions.
Is it huge arrogance, or just that they think that every opinion they have is worth the same as anyone elses? It's very strange.

Pagwatch Sat 12-Oct-13 16:25:27

Dick waving. A pissing contest..
It's not obscure is it?

I have no doubts about the judge.
I have doubts about how the legal system gets forced to make decisions that loving parents should drop their difference to resolve.

I am a random on the Internet. It's a chat board.

No, it's just surprise that a 15 year old is to be vaccinated against her will. The decision that it is in her interests to be vaccinated don't surprise me at all. Unless she has learning disabilities though I am surprised that it was decided she needed to be forcibly vaccinated.

I do wonder what will happen in practice if she continues to refuse as deciding that she should be vaccinated is different than actually forcibly doing it. I have been with ds1 who was 10 at the time refusing an X-ray. He had 5 people trying to hold him down & in the end the x ray wasn't taken. Age 5 he refused a blood pressure reading and that was abandoned as well. He has been held down for blood tests but I suspect that would have been abandoned if they had been unable to insert a cannula - I do know children where blood tests have been abandoned as well. And this is for children who do not have capacity - no question.

pointyfangs Sat 12-Oct-13 16:38:11

I very much doubt that these girls' opinions have simply been walked all over; I suspect they would have been very thoroughly assessed. And if the only thing they were saying to clarify their motivations for refusing were parroted from their mother, then clearly there is an issue with consent.

Re the 11yo - I would not presume an 11yo cannot consent. My DD1 is 12 and recently started her course of HPV vaccinations. Her consent was explicitly sought on the form, and since I work in MH research I'm very au fait with the procedures of taking consent, so I have ensured that her consent was both valid and informed. There's not that enormous a difference in emotional maturity between 10 and 11.

Having said all of the above, I would question the father's motivations given the adversarial relationship between him and his ex wife...

Oh I agree - I have sought my 11 year old's opinions on vaccination & taken them on board. It's a conversation that we have every now & then because I am aware I have made an unconventional decision for him.

Ds1 cannot consent or not consent to any medical procedure ( thanks in part to vaccination ) but even then his lack of willingness to take part in a medical procedure is 'listened' to & procedures that would most definitely be in his interest (such as properly checking his teeth) are not performed. I cannot see how in practical terms you carry out a procedure against the wishes of children of this age. If the girls do properly object & show that objection to the nurses/doctors I would be staggered if the vaccination are given.

Would be different if it were just mum & dad having a pop at each other & the girls had no strong opinions.

BasilBabyEater Sat 12-Oct-13 17:05:38

I think it's astonishing that a 15 year old is not considered to have capacity to make choices about her own body tbh. It's very worrying what that teaches her about rights over her own body.

I hate the way so many people say both parents are at fault for it getting to court - just because something has ended up in court, doesn't mean it is because both parents are unreasonable, it could be because one of them is terribly unreasonable and insists on taking the other reasonable parent to court maliciously, or that the one who is taken to court is so unreasonable that the other parent feels they really have no option but to do that, or that both of them are perfectly reasonable people with very strongly held beliefs who find that there is no other way of settling it than court.

Unreasonable people exist. Sometimes reasonable people marry them and reproduce with them. When the shit hits the fan, it's not necessarily because one or both of them are unreasonable.

(Disclaimer: I've never been taken to court or taken anyone to court, so I don't have an axe to grind on this issue, I just can't stand the automatic assumption that court = loons.)

NotYoMomma Sat 12-Oct-13 17:13:15

I told a nurse very clearly when I was 13 that of she gave me a needle I would break her arm.

I was so scared

I didnt care about the ingredients of vaccines or what it was for or weighing up the pros and cons

I did not want an injection

if someone had given me one or forced one on me they would 1) never live it down
2) I would never have spoken to them again
3) except to try and take it further as I would have viewed it as assault

Chunderella Sat 12-Oct-13 17:19:07

Saintly I know capacity is usually assumed at 16 absent LDs and court cases, but that's clearly not applicable in this case. Additionally, this fact hasn't stopped many thousands of people being considered to lack capacity despite neither of these factors applying. I agree that vaccination for adults may well be a new one, though, as I've never heard of it for a child this old before. Wouldn't be shocked to see it become a bigger issue if we have more epidemics.

Regarding what will happen with the medical treatment, I realise your personal experience is of professionals not wishing to perform it in such circumstances, but it does happen. We should also be wary of assuming that either daughter would respond in that way- it's quite possible one or both will acquiesce in the face of the inevitable.

lljkk Sat 12-Oct-13 17:20:58

I'm pretty rampantly pro-jabs and even I think it's wrong to force them like this.

PumpkinGuts Sat 12-Oct-13 20:25:08

As a 25 year old pregnant woman Iwas forced to explain over and over why I was "risking my baby" by nit having swine flu jab. I'm not at all surprised they decided a 15 year old who is clearly aware of her own ideas (hence veganism) got it wrong.

GatoradeMeBitch Sat 12-Oct-13 21:32:43

It's an important jab, of course they should have it. The article says the 15 year old only needs the booster anyway.

Something that crossed my mind with the competency issue, is that perhaps the older child has autism and the parents thought the jab may have caused it? I remember there being a lot of press about the link between MMR jab and autism about a decade ago.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 21:36:29

All those saying the father is wrong being controlling,

What makes his view point on the matter less valid than the mothers?

How come the mothers refusal is not her being controlling?

And I say the mother as opposed to the children because all the information we have is that the children's opinion is nothing other than the mothers and face it children do not get to make the final decision on important stuff if they did then they wouldn't need parents.

So you would hold a child own & forcibly give then the jab sock?

My issue isn't about the parents views it's that - if the reports are correct - the 15 year old has decided she doesn't want it. If she is serious about that then it will need to be forcibly given.

I have found medics rather reluctant to hold my own son down to treat him - even when he had a suspected broken ankle.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 22:28:13

I have had to hold one of my children down when they were refusing treatment its sometimes a fact of life I've also watched medical staff do it, not nice but it was needed at the time.

But for a vaccination nope i wouldn't but none of my children (apart from the one who cannot have it due to a problem) would ever have had it left until that age they were all done when little and were not given an option and I certainly wouldn't fill my child's head with crap about it thus ensuring a dramatic reaction.

You've held own an older child? 5 people couldn't hold down my son, then aged around 10, for a necessary x ray. Well i suppose they could have tied him down, but they wouldn't. He wasn't given it.

I can't imagine by doctor or nurse holding down a 15 year old to forcibly inject them short of their life being in immediate danger.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 23:03:49

Yes I have held down an older child at the same time as several of the medical staff involved did, the only other option would have been very undesirable.

But as I said I would not for a jab they were done when little

Strumpetron Sat 12-Oct-13 23:13:05

I'd like to know why this was made into such a bloody hoo ha in the first place.
If the mother did the correct research instead of listening to falsified reports and scare mongering this wouldn't have happened.

It does scare me that the court has such power over making 2 girls have something they do not want - even though I do agree with them having it

Well I'm surprised. Medical staff run away from ds1 as soon as he yelps. He's 14 now & I can't imagine him being held down for anything. They didn't even manage to shine a slit lamp on him 3 years ago, and abandoned photographic attempts to document his moles. And he does not have capacity. The idea of doing that to someone his age with some sort of understanding of not being listened to is horrifying.

FWIW I was involved in trying to hold him down for the X-ray. It was horrific - it left me feeling dirty, and years later I think we tried for too long. I understand medical staff's reluctance & why they will not force treat.

moldingsunbeams Sat 12-Oct-13 23:17:38

I struggle with this, dd went for her flu jab last year and would not have it done when she got to room, despite me telling nurse to do it she said she couldnt as dd was of sound mind and old enough to object.

One of these girls in a year or less time will be old enough to have a child legally and live alone so I struggle with forcing medical treatment on her which she does not want.

Strump - in my sons' case some doctors think my younger sons would be safe being vaccinated. Some think it's wiser to be very very cautious. In general those more expert in ds1 or his condition think ds2 & ds3 should be left unvaccinated. Who to listen to?

It's an issue for us because at some stage ds1 will pass into the care of people who do not know him or his family history. A vaccination could be a disaster for him - but as soon as he is out of our care that's it- he won't have capacity, so will have no say & neither will we. It does worry me.

Molding I would have thought the same will happen. If the girls object when in the room it won't be given. Nurses and doctors are generally very aware of consent & assent.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 23:38:20

Well to be honest the circumstances warranted it, I would do exactly the same thing again, the child in question knows that if it had not been done the way it was they would more than likely have died an obviously undesirable outcome.

But again I would not do it for a minor issue especially not a jab.

If the mother in this case had done her prep work and made sure the girls knew the bigger picture and that it was the girls actual belief as opposed to her own if she had prepared them with enough info to make an informed choice they would have been able to demonstrate this and its quite likely the judge would have ruled differently or even made no order at all.

But she didn't,it was clearly evident to the judge that this had not happened and that parroting was occurring,if this was not about jabs we would be calling that emotional abuse. Fair play to the dad for at least trying to protect his children from that.

moldingsunbeams Sat 12-Oct-13 23:39:31

I really cannot imagine how they are going to inject an unco-operative fifteen year old, mine is nearly 11 and I would struggle to hold her down if I had to. The fifteen year old not a chance.

I want to know how a court thinks they are going to get a 15 who refuses into a car/bus to the doctors in to a room to have an injection she does not want. Its crazy.

I also dont know why they expected the girls to know what the medicine they would need if they became ill would have in, my mums a nurse and I haven't a clue. Of course they wouldn't know.

Well there isn't a 'medicine' for measles (or mumps or rubella for that matter). Unless they mean iv vitamin A which is useful if you are malnourished, but maybe not if you aren't. Perhaps they wanted them to say 'paracetamol' or 'antibiotics for secondary infections'. hmm

I wonder how many people receiving MMR (or consenting to their children getting it) could answer that question.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Oct-13 23:51:54

Its quite likely that they didn't need to know the exact treatment and more likely they only needed to know that pretty much most treatments for most things have some type of ethical animal related issue attached to them,as opposed to that particular issue solely being vaccine related.

I would still be interested in how many people receiving the vaccination would 'pass' such a test or it's equivalent.

I have, for example, come across someone who spread rubella around because she had no idea her child could get rubella despite being vaccinated. Surely that's a fail in ''understanding vaccination 101)

notallytuts Sun 13-Oct-13 00:03:25

they werent expected to know what the ingredients of treatment for measles/mumps/rubella would be hmm They were expected to have thought about what they might be - i.e. that they might also contain animal ingredients, if there are concerns re veganism - that doesnt seem like an unfair suggestion as something they perhaps should have considered.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 13-Oct-13 00:11:05

They thought the vaccine protected them from nothing more than a minor rash

Hm - and something doctors quiz patients upon on arriving for vaccination?

I must admit I might have prepped my children better (they would have been sent in with some comments from peer reviewed journals and published scientists) but still, forcible vaccination of a 15 year old? Even if her arguments wouldn't make it into a peer reviewed journal. It is my opinion (to make it clear - I of course do not know, but my experience cynicism suggests it to be the case) that they would not be asking for as much proof of understanding if she wanted the vaccination.

As someone who doesn't vaccinate I have no problems with 15 year old making up their own mind (as already said if ds2 or ds3 come to me aged 15 and say they want to be vaccinated I will help them organise it). I have big problems with 15 year olds being forced to undergo any medical procedure they do not consent to. They are large at they age. None compliance leads to bruising.

In my case measles was a minor rash. In my mum's case it left her deaf in one ear.

My younger sons do know both these outcomes smile

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 13-Oct-13 00:51:52

IME the courts would require evidence of understanding when treatment is being requested just as they do when its being refused.

The vast majority of family law court cases involving children perceived to be old enough to have a say will have systems in place designed to detect if a child is expressing there own view or has been coached or is just echoing either parent.

These particular children have been detected as having been coached and echoing they have also not been given the very basic information required to meet the minimum needed to make a choice.

One of their parents has placed them in this position the other has tried to rectify it.

Saintly I have no doubt what so ever that the info you have passed to your children is enough for them to never be in the same position as these children but these children are not as lucky as yours.

Tbh I still think it won't happen - the bbc news report hints at that. The deadline for it being done has passed & there are 'practical difficulties'. It's not difficult to arrange an MMR, so it sounds entirely possible/likely the girls are refusing. Perhaps the father should be the one to hold them down as he's so desperate for them to have it hmm does also demonstrate why this should not have gone to court (although I agree with an earlier poster that it doesn't mean both parents are unreasonable).

If you mean the father has tried to rectify it I don't agree. If he disagreed with their decision it would have been better to explain to the girls why he felt they had made the wrong decision, not force them to his way of thinking through the use of the courts. Good luck to him & his future relationship with his girls if he thinks he can force then to think the same way as him.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 13-Oct-13 08:18:32

I feel for the girls.

Have to say I'm very surprised at the courts decision. I can't believe that the 15yo doesn't have Gillick competence, very surprised. I'm suspicious they've decided that as her choice isn't a mainstream choice. So they've used every opportunity they can to try and trip her up.

If she's vegan she has a good point about not wanting an animal based vaccine. Then to say she hasn't thought about if medication she may need if she were ill has animal contents is just silly.

If I were vegan I wouldn't take stuff I didn't feel I needed that had animal content. But if I was seriously ill my ethical objection would go out the window if it was life saving stuff. I imagine a lot of vegetarians would feel the same.

Surely if they pin her down to have it she can sue for assault?

I'm sure if she were pregnant and wanted an abortion she'd be deemed to be competent to make that decision.

My 12yo was the one who was asked at school whether she consented for her recent HPV. I didn't have to sign a consent. I just got a letter saying my dd has agreed to have this vaccine.

Wheatus Sun 13-Oct-13 08:19:53

The world health organisation, and others, are trying to eradicate measles.

800,000 children die a year from measles, half in Africa.

Vaccination isn't just about your own children.

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 08:20:03

Well, there certainly seems to be a suggestion that the mother has done pretty much that saintly. Also I think you may be slightly unfair to the mother wrt what you said about prepping the girls: as the 15 year old has been considered to have less capacity than the vast majority of children her age, there's got to be at least a realistic possibility of perhaps LDs, or something that might make prepping difficult anyway. It's also a possibility that the mother's own decision has not been based on the science either. In which case her failure to prep the girls better is the least of the things we could slag her for. And as I explained upthread, the problem with saying the father ought to have persuaded the girls is that even if he did, the mother was still opposed and could have applied to the court for an order to prevent vaccination.

Wrt to the veganism, someone mentioned the 15 year old being the vegan one upthread- do we know that for sure? I know it's rare for an 11 year old to be vegan, but not unknown.

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 08:22:28

'I'm sure if she were pregnant and wanted an abortion she'd be deemed to be competent to make that decision.'

You can't possibly be sure of that Viva, there is literally no basis for it at all. If you are sure, that certainty is fundamentally misguided. If you suspect it, that's fair enough- the possibility exists that you are right.

Yes viva - I agree & what I said on the other thread. There is no 'treatment' for measles mumps or rubella anyway. Unless they meant antibiotics for secondary infections, or iv vitamin A for measles (although whether it's any use in well nourished individuals is not clear). Perhaps they meant paracetamol.

VivaLeThrustBadger Sun 13-Oct-13 08:23:42

Well I really can't imagine any hcp or court insisting a 15yo continues with a pregnancy against their wishes.

Chunderella - you are assuming the girl has been viewed to have less capacity than other children of her age due to something about her. Her capacity has only been assessed for this one decision - by a court officer not a doctor - and my guess is that her unconventional decision is what has deemed her to lack the capacity for this one decision.

I wonder if she was asked to give consent for HPV (which seems to be usual amongst my friends with 12 year old girls) & whether she was allowed to consent to or refuse that.

If she has been brainwashed by her mother there are surely many people around her who could give her the other side. Her father could have arranged for her to talk with a doctor for example (although maybe not mine as they have always been supportive & on the whole in agreement with the lack of vax for the younger two - but still I'm sure they could run through the effects of the diseases).

Anyway the court & father do appear to have ignored that ultimately they will have to get the sisters compliance & agreement within the consulting room. It doesn't matter what the mother says or does, if the girls will not comply within the consulting room I cannot see that the vaccinations will be given.

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 08:38:31

I'm not assuming saintly. The possibility exists that it was simply down to her vaccination stance, but like babybarrister I know of the judge concerned and that's not her style. So though I make no assumption, yes I do think it more likely than not that the lack of capacity was down to something about this 15 year old. Particularly as she doesn't seem to have challenged the decision.

As for the people who could have given her the other side, possibly. Though as you point out, not all medical professionals are necessarily supportive of vaccination and it's not unknown for parents who oppose it to choose GPs etc because of their stance. But if she has been brainwashed by her mother it's a great big baseless assumption to think any amount of discussion from a doctor would make any difference. It might, it might not.

nicename Sun 13-Oct-13 08:38:40

I read it as awful point-scoring from both sides.

Neither girl has yet been vaccinated despite the deadline passing. Do you think the mother has then locked up at home, or do you think it more likely the girls are refusing. How could she challenge the decision? The best way surely would be to tell the medics she will not comply and they'll have to assault her to get it done.

Incidentally this does seen heavy handed for a booster. When MMR was introduced it was meant to be one jab for life. At least by the time any forced vaccination runs out she'll be old enough to tell them to bog off.

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 08:55:14

Legal challenge saintly. There could be a few options. You could at least have a go at a challenge on the basis of Article 8 ECHR (right to private and family life) and Article 3 (torture, inhuman and degrading treatment). I suspect such a challenge would eventually fail as the threshold for Article 3 is rather high, but it's an arguable case and you could hope to drag it out long enough for the girls to be considered competent to refuse. I should add that I practice human rights law in the context of immigration and asylum, which is a bit different to this case so I don't claim this is a specialist opinion.

Anyway I'm not sure I agree with you that the best way would be to tell medics she won't comply, that's risky because people do sometimes have medical procedures they don't want forced on them. I don't know how this is achieved, whether people are held down or sedated or what, but it does happen. Obviously we don't know all the facts in the case, and perhaps being a solicitor makes me more inclined to look to the courts. But if I were the mother here I'd be much more inclined to apply to the ECHR than to assume that because there are practical difficulties with forced vaccination, it couldn't possibly be carried out.

sashh Sun 13-Oct-13 10:29:01

Having said all of the above, I would question the father's motivations given the adversarial relationship between him and his ex wife...

I'd question the mother's.

Mum and dad agreed with initial vaccine for older dd.

AW's study came out and both agreed not to give older dd the booster or the younger one the initial jab.

Study has been discredited numerous times therefore the reason for not having MMR has disappeared so why has mum not gone back to her original ideas?

It would be different if both had agreed never to have the children vaccinated.

All of this talk about consent, the term is 'informed consent', both girls have clearly not been informed.

NotYoMomma Sun 13-Oct-13 12:12:16

so surely the ruling should have been made that they be informed and then decide at their ages to give concent or not?

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 13-Oct-13 12:21:41


It would be quite hard to inform them after a bout of brainwashing

pointyfangs Sun 13-Oct-13 12:48:42

I'm not disagreeing with any of that at all, sashh and I said as much in my post upthread. I'm going on the assumption that the mother has been the RP, so undoubtedly she has been filling her daughters' heads with uninformed anti-vax nonsense. If Wakefield was what triggered their doubts in the first place, then they were both idiots at the time. I'm just shock and hmm that the father is taking this through the courts now - unless this is an old story and the family were in Wales at the time of the outbreak, which would put an entirely different spin on it.

Personally when the outbreak happened - and started a smaller outbreak in Holland too - I was thankful my DDs had been vaccinated.

Hm interesting chunder - DH is a solicitor & felt very much this was not the sort of case that should end up at the courts. I see what you are saying though, but legal challenges cost money & it may be practically easier to refuse to comply - because I think it is unlikely a doctor would force anyone to have a vaccination - especially for the 15 year old. I also thought capacity had to be considered on a day by day basis so presumably the children could be found to have capacity on the day (no matter that they didn't have it last week) & entitled to refuse. I know procedures such as force feeding are sometimes carried out under court order - but usually as a matter of life & death? (Presume the same may be the case for blood transfusions although that may be against the wishes of the parents rather than child - I feel this case is more like force feeding as it is against the wishes of the individuals).

This case has confirmed to me that ds1 will have to always live with us. A vaccination has the potential to be disastrous for him, and while experts in his condition agree with this, generalists are unlikely to know enough about this to understand this. God knows what will happen when we die.

The irony of course is that the medical interventions we want them to do (checking teeth, vision, mending broken legs, etc are very difficult to do due to lack of compliance so don't get done).

Something I hadn't realised until talking to people about this is that girls are asked to consent to HPV at 12 & parental consent is not always sought. It does seen as if it is far easier to consent to receive than refuse a vaccination. The same test of capacity should be applied to both decisions - I'm sure the girls consenting for HPV are not subjected to quizzes of their understanding of vaccination issues prior to being given the vaccination.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 13-Oct-13 14:35:14

They should be saintly but I expect they get round it by giving a leaflet to mum or dad and expecting (quite rightly) that they do there job.

I don't know - my understanding is that the girls are given a form to sign. Maybe they get a leaflet (does stuffing a leaflet in your bag count as 'informed consent'? grin )

The 'tests' to refuse seen much higher than to agree.

They're meant to be introducing flu jab via schools aren't they - eventually for everyone. That will be interesting. I won't consent for ds1 so he shouldn't be given it, & as ds3 is still at primary school I assume that my non consent will be accepted. Wonder what will happen with ds2 (at secondary). If he doesn't want it (& I'll go through the issues at home with him - it's certainly not something I would advise him to have) I'll have to support him in how to say no in face of an institutional assumption he will have it.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 13-Oct-13 15:10:50

I think it's only for young children at the moment 3/4/5 age group. But I'm not sure.

Your not going to have an issue both you your DH and your doctor agree with not dong it the school are not going to over ride that nor would they attempt to.

The schools around here don't do the jabs you have to take the child to the docs if you want it done.

pointyfangs Sun 13-Oct-13 15:23:32

saintly I think the way consent is done for the HPV jab varies enormously between areas. We were given a sealed envelope addressed to both us and DD, with a consent form in which her consent and ours had equal placing in terms of size, font etc., and a lot of information about the vaccination. This pack was supplied 5 months ahead of time and although they asked for it to be returned within 7 days, this was not enforced - we called the nurse in charge of the scheme in our area and asked if we could bring it in on the day as we wanted time to consider, discuss and research. Ultimately I felt the decision was DD's to make.

Then again I work in health research so I feel that valid informed consent is hugely important - which is why this case is such an ethical minefield.

Yes it's littlies at the mo - but I think the plan is to roll it out fairly quickly.

I'm not sure it matters what we think - if girls of 12 are consenting to HPV then I think it will be left to him. I do worry about his ability to say no at school - he's a 'good' boy & not used to having to opt out iykwim - so even if we've talked about it at home I think he will struggle if the assumption is that it's being done (I would have fewer concerns about ds3 tbh - he'll happily say no). I'll have to contact the school begorehand to ensure they know that he is choosing to say no. It's hard to say no to an institutional machine! Especially when you're still a child.

Oh that's interesting pointy

Chunderella Sun 13-Oct-13 16:05:27

Saintly sometimes people detained under the mental health act can have treatment imposed on them that isn't a matter of life and death also. Not the same situation as this, though. Ideally this wouldn't go to court, but if neither parent budges and both feel strongly enough, it was probably inevitable regardless of what the girls thought. The mother could certainly have sought an order to prevent vaccination, which she'd probably have been wise to do if he'd persuaded the girls.

In terms of costs, I would guess this is legally aided, the girls anyway. It appears to have been initially an application for an order in the family court, and the application was probably made prior to the legal aid changes in April. I could be wrong though, not done family law for 3 years. Even if not, there are cases of the anti-vax community having stepped in to pay people's legal fees, fines etc, so that could have been an option here. I don't want to second guess the mother and she may have her own reasons for not appealing, but funding likely wasn't one of them. I'd just never want to rely on an order from the high court not being enforced when there's another option. It's a risk.

An interesting point sash. For all we know, the parents had agreed to fully vaccinate if there were an epidemic, or when the girls reached a certain age, or some other circumstance and mother went back on that.

pointyfangs Mon 14-Oct-13 08:47:28

Chunderella all the training we receive on valid informed consent says that being sectioned does not automatically make someone incapable of valid informed consent, and imposing treatment means going through an additional layer of assessment procedures before this can take place.

Chunderella Mon 14-Oct-13 09:02:54

Yes I know pointyfangs (share an office with a mental health solicitor so I pick up some of the basics from listening to her). It's correct though isn't it that someone in that position can still have treatment imposed on them if they've come through those additional assessment procedures and still been found to be unable to give informed consent?

pointyfangs Mon 14-Oct-13 10:19:57

Yes, that's correct. The hoops are considerable though - I was acting MH Act Manager for a while and had to deal with all the admin involved. I consider that a good thing, you need rigorous procedures if you're going to go against someone's will like that.

Chunderella Mon 14-Oct-13 11:05:21

Oh yes, definitely agree. Good to hear your insider view.

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