Woman to have baby taken away at birth...

(704 Posts)

because she is likely to suffer from Munschausen's syndrome by proxy

SpawnChorus Thu 18-Oct-07 17:05:41

I thought the diagnosis of MbP had been discredited!

geekgirl Thu 18-Oct-07 17:06:28


cant find it on BBC news but she has just lost her appeal

Thats so sad. Did she have other children?

I don't think the syndrome as such has been discredited, just the over-diagnosis of it. It does seem a bit harsh to take a baby away at birth though

totallyfreaky Thu 18-Oct-07 17:07:39

is likely too?!! does than mean there is no dx, just a suspicion, or does she have a dx of Munschausen? Is Munschausens by proxy syndrome inevitable for patiens with Munschausens.

totallyfreaky Thu 18-Oct-07 17:08:10

gosh, sorry, that was a mouthful.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 17:09:29

It has been discredited. Child abuse is real, Muchausens Syndrome by Proxy is an imaginary syndrome created by a misogynist doctor with no training in psychology or psychiatry.

There's lots of info about it here -


WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:10:23

Oh no, was it the woman who posted on here? I do hope not.

why is it not on bbc? would be in tyne section as she is in hexham

littleducks Thu 18-Oct-07 17:11:06

is this the lady who posted on here after a long in the news thread and had a website?

she posted on here? oh no, should i get this deleted?

actually a "syndrome" is a collection of symptoms, not an illness, so it doesn't really matter if the doctor who invented it had any training in psychology.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:23:56

No don't get it deleted, she posted and told us what she could, was she called Fran someone?

Why tf has she lost if it is her, she sounded ENTIRELY reasonable.

What did she say? I missed it. Who gives them the right to take her baby? Has she had children before?

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 17:26:51

It was claimed to be a pyschiatric syndrome, he diagnosed it from the most bizarre "symptoms" ever, including so-called "symptoms" in a child that led to the diagnosis of an adult, I think being a nurse or in the medical profession was another.

I think this must be the woman:


she is "likely to harm her baby" iirc
Guilty until proven innocent

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:28:11

Oh bollocks, it is her, Fran Lyon. Poor bloody woman can't someone stop social services? There was an MP who was taking an interest wasn't there?

thanks Elizabethh
the story

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:29:17
WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:31:26

This is SO wrong.
She was raped
She had previous psychiatric illness
Her doctor has confirmed she is not a risk to her unborn baby
but some doctor who HAS NEVER MET HER has told fking stupid social services that the baby should be taken away

it's fking mad and misogynistic and wrong.

aargh hasn't she suffered enough
well that's going to stop people seeking help for mental health problems
ok there are 2 sides to every story, I'd be very interested to hear the other side

littleducks Thu 18-Oct-07 17:32:29

THE PREVIOUS THREAD IS here poor, poor woman

FioFio Thu 18-Oct-07 17:32:50

Message deleted

thefunniefarm Thu 18-Oct-07 17:34:08

Elizabetth, I don't think Munchausen's by proxy has been discredited as such just the overzealous diagnosis. Remember Beverley Allitt? she was the paediatric nurse in Lincolnshire, 'The Angel of Death'.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 17:35:03

It's a bloody disgrace. If they really think she's a danger to her child then why don't they put her in a mother and baby psychiatric unit and observe them and support her for a few months?

What they are doing to her is horrific.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 17:37:04

Yup and Roy Meadow was the expert witness in her case, as he was in the Sion Jenkins case.

I can't remember the evidence in the Beverley Allit case but if she did murder those patients there was no need to use a spurious syndrome to prove her guilt, evidence should have been enough.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:37:47

It is horrific Elizabethh

Can we help in any way do you think? Poor poor woman. They could EASILY do that, they don#t have to take the baby away.

This is someone being found guilty for something they HAVEN'T DONE! It's outrageous. This is the thin end of a very dangerous wedge, it's minority report, in secret, by social workers.

me23 Thu 18-Oct-07 17:37:56

I agree this is so sad and wrong! something very sinister about this, feel it is more about sicial services meeting their adoption targets. is there anything we can do? a petition to sign or anything?

littleducks Thu 18-Oct-07 17:38:17

I think she has asked to be placed in such a unit. As if life hadnt been rubbish enough for her so far the ss seem to be creating a trauma that will only make her less stable, having your baby taken would send the sanest person mad.

I have children who i love dearly, if i had mental health problems will stories like this make me not want to seek treatment, you bet. How can that be good for anyone?

I think there is more to this story than the telegraph article implies. why is it relevant that she was raped for example?

Having said that, I think removing a child at birth is wrong on principle. If the danger is really so great that the child cannot simply be placed on the at risk register, then the mother should be sectioned instead.

What a terribly sad story. How disgusting that they are not taking what the doctors who have seen her in to account. I really hope that in the four months she has to go that the council will see sense.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:40:44

Is John Hemming still involved?
Does she have a very very good lawyer?

Fran, if you're reading this please post.

What a terribly sad story. How disgusting that they are not taking what the doctors who have seen her in to account. I really hope that in the four months she has to go that the council will see sense.

What a terribly sad story. How disgusting that they are not taking what the doctors who have seen her in to account. I really hope that in the four months she has to go that the council will see sense.

ELF1981 Thu 18-Oct-07 17:42:05

this is bloody disgusting.

Everybody MIGHT hurt their child, but the vast majority do not. Should we all have our children brought up with strangers, in care homes etc JUST IN CASE?

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:42:25

I think the rape thing is relevant because she started self harming after that and her psychiatric issues started afterwards (but I may be wrong). How tf can women be punished for becoming ill when someone's raped them?

ELF1981 Thu 18-Oct-07 17:43:03

because men make the decisions?

How do you start a petition?

How do you start a petition?

berolina Thu 18-Oct-07 17:46:20

Goodness, this is dreadful. 'Likely to suffer from' - horrific. Sinister is the right word. Someone appears to be on an enormous power trip.

I've got my 4-week-old in my arms and I can't bear to think about it. Poor poor Fran and Molly. I so hope this can be averted.

BrownSuga Thu 18-Oct-07 17:46:23

flippin nora, poor girl.

it's like saying we're going to lock you up coz you MIGHT rob a bank. barmy.

couldn't they monitor her for 6mths, give her support, then make a decision.

FlameBat Thu 18-Oct-07 17:47:24

This is madness!

It is akin to saying that I have abused my body with poppadum overingestion in the past, therefore my children should be taken away incase I forcefeed them poppadums and kill them with salt intake hmmangry

(I know that sounds flippant, but it needed to be a silly analogy to get my point across)

pooka Thu 18-Oct-07 17:49:05

This is just awful. I cannot comprehend how it would feel. Hope that someone out there is able to help her.

Lizzylou Thu 18-Oct-07 17:52:38

This is so awful and tragic, draconian in the extreme.

So all victims of rape/abuse should never have the chance to be a parent, a mother?

There may be more to this, but it is scandalous to think that this is hapening in a so-called "civilised" society.

ruty Thu 18-Oct-07 17:52:43

misogyny. Total lack of understanding in mental health issues. Just awful.

yes from what i could hear between cyring baby she had asked to live in a centre after the birth
Surely this can't be standard practice?

serendippity Thu 18-Oct-07 17:54:39

woooah, how totaly awful I had no idea MBP had been discredited.
Agree with others this is nuts, let me know if there is a petition we couls sign.

If there is more to this
and if most people would agree with the ruling if they knew the details
(that is IF btw)
they need to make that clear - this will stop people getting help when they need it most, say for PND

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 17:55:56

Her own doctor is publically saying he doesn't think there's an issue. The dr who is advising social workers hasn't MET Fran. Misogynistic in the extreme.

www - but the article says that ss have based their decision "in part" on that doc's letter. It isn't the whole reason.

also the more I think about it, the more I am annoyed by the rape comment. The implication is that she was mentally ill because she was raped, which means she's alright really because she isn't properly mentally ill. It is an offensive implication imo and should have no more bearing on the case than the opinion of a doctor who hasn't met the woman.

(but don't get me wrong. like I say, I think it's wrong to remove a baby at birth like this).

Tiggiwinkle Thu 18-Oct-07 18:00:44

How on earth can this be allowed to happen?

theUrbanDevil Thu 18-Oct-07 18:00:48

Fran - if you're reading, it might be worth getting the local LLL involved with this. what they're proposing contravenes your baby's human rights to be breastfed. (i'm assuming that - given the chance - you would bf, but given your previous experiences i know that's a hell of an assumption so please don't think i'm just being insensitive)

SS are acting on the very edge of their jurisdiction, but it's not the first time and it won't be the last. stay strong, because eventually you will beat them, although i know it doesn't feel like that at the moment.

nappyaddict Thu 18-Oct-07 18:01:07

this was the thread

poor poor woman surely one is innocent until proven guilty.

senora, you make a good point
If she had MH problems but hadn't been raped it still wouldn't be ok!

nappyaddict Thu 18-Oct-07 18:04:12

i don't understand why they won't let her go in a m&b unit.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 18:05:52

Somthing like 80% of women on psychiatric wards are survivors of rape or sexual abuse. It's not unreasonable to think that rape could make a person mentally unstable.

I think the fact that she was raped then the police called in social workers when her partner was apparently abusing her which is now leading to the threat of her child being removed just adds to the structure of misogyny surrounding this case.

Apparently social workers will threaten to take children from women who refuse to leave violent men. Somehow our system is set up to steal abused women's children but not to lock up the violent abusers or rapists in the first place.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 18:10:04

Oh, I'm so very sorry for Fran. Sadly there is a shocking history of SS and the courts wrongly removing babies based on assertions rather than evidence re. MSBP (now renamed factitious illness or something in a vain attempt to evade scrutiny). Margaret Hodge was supposed to review the practice of SS depts in the light of the Cannings, Clarke and other cases but obviously nothing has changed - hardly surprising as she basically asked SS to investigate itself.

Have mentioned it before, but even the past president of the General Medical Council was threatened when he refused to go along with one SS witch-hunt.

WWW is right, this is misogyny at work. And the family courts are shot through with hit.

elizabetth - I know that rape and sexual abuse can trigger mental health problems. I'm just questioning the use of it in that article really: I don't see why the exact trigger for this woman's mh problems is relevant, and I think it is offensive for people who have had mh problems without such a violent trigger, that's all.

I think the article has been carefully written to give the woman's side, and I think there is more to the story. I don't think it's useful to use facts given in it as a basis for argument in fact.

But I do think it is wrong in general to take babies away at birth, and I think the secrecy of the family courts should be looked at.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 18:16:21

It's her story. Why shouldn't it be reported what happened to her and the circumstances surrounding her mental health issues?

You seem to be advocating that her rape should be swept under the carpet. For no good reason as far as I can see.

I think you're ignoring the bigger issue that there is a scandal in the family courts and social services surrounding women having their children stolen from them under a spurious diagnosis that has no basis in science.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 18:18:52

It's also worth remembering that once this baby is born, none of us, including Fran will be able to discuss this case lest we or Mumsnet be accused of contempt of court.

The secrecy with which these people are allowed to operate is quite frightening.

hunkermunker Thu 18-Oct-07 18:19:18

Oh, this is HORRIFIC! shock sad

Sheherazadethegoat Thu 18-Oct-07 18:21:05

i am sick just thinking about this. poor poor woman. and when you think about the situations that some children are left in by social services.

A petition is good but individual letters are more useful as most official departements have to log the nuber of complaints/objections they recieve. What we need to do is co-ordinate responses so they hit the most effective targets. Her MP for one -I know he's on her side but if he can say I've had over 300 letters...dah-de-dah- does anyone have media contacts?

Could MNHQ do a statement on our behalf?

When is the poor girls EDD? I feel like spiriting her away out of the country I'm so farking angry about this!!

(taken ages to type this so apologies for anything already said or done!grin)

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 18:31:30

Seems like there are a few issues here -

1) Fran Lyon's situation

and to stop the same kind of thing happening to any other woman:

2) End secrecy in the family courts

3) End targets for social workers to meet on adoptions

4) MSBP still being used as a diagnosis long after it's progenitor Roy Meadows has been completely discredited

DoctorFrankenSquonk Thu 18-Oct-07 18:37:15

so sorry to see today's news

I was fairly confident that NO court in this day and age in an enlightened country such as ours would take such a draconian step in the aftermath of Sally Clarke, Trupti Patel, Angela Cannings (I could go on, but won't)

Shows how fucking stupid you can be to trust the system, doesn't it.

Fran, if you're reading this, you have probably united every mumsnetter in support of your case (which believe me, is bloody hard to do, this lot could argue about whether day was night)

Wishing you the very sanest of magistrates if it gets that far

pixie04 Thu 18-Oct-07 18:40:55

This is disgusting I cannot believe this is happening. This woman has done nothing wrong. How can they take her newborn baby away from her?

I was raped a few years ago and I also self harmed for a while afterwards. I have dealt with that part of my life and have moved on. I am now in a loving realationship and we are ttc #1 should I be concerned that my baby may be taken from me?

It is ridiculous. Surley they should be offering this woman support for what she's been through not treating her like she's a potentially evil person because she was unlucky enough to be a victim of abuse.

HUNXXXX Thu 18-Oct-07 18:41:35

i dont hink itd be tolly out o the blue surely?

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 18:43:37

Apparently 2000 children were removed from their parents last year and put up for adoption, a threefold increase from a decade ago.

This is all very fishy.

pixie04 Thu 18-Oct-07 18:46:26

It is very fishy, surley parents should be given support not have their children taken from them at birth! shock. I know myself from experience that when you suffer abuse that the hardest thing to come to terms with is that it wasn't your fault. To then be treated as though you have done something wrong because of the abuse is just an awful thing to have to deal with and my heart really goes out to Fran.

HUNXXXX Thu 18-Oct-07 18:48:40

but having seen a case or tow progress tbh they jump through HOOPS before they take kids htese days

in some cases far too many..
oyu nee dto see it to belive it

pixie04 Thu 18-Oct-07 18:57:42

I just can't believe this case, obviously we don't all know the full details but taking a baby at birth seems seriously over the top, if they were that concerned should the woman not be given a chance to prove herself ie an assesment or even some time in a secure place with supervision. I just think its so extreme when the woman hasn't yet commited an offence.

PeachyFleshCrawlingWithBugs Thu 18-Oct-07 19:13:37

I am so very sorry for fran and it is so very wrong to be tried before you have even had an opportunity to commit a crime

Also agree with Hun / Cod, which is why I am so very shocked- have seen SS leave kids in famillies where quite clearly they need immediate removal because they 'vanve to try first'- even when homestart (me and everyone else were terrified what could happen and there was clear abuse admitted

A complete unmitigated mess sad

Housemum Thu 18-Oct-07 19:18:49

Seems very disturbing - and thinking of the awful situations where children have been wrongly taken (the cot deaths treated as suspicious, the child abuse that wasn't - wa that the Shetlands or somewhere?) But then again, social services don't usually take children at birth. My SIL adopted a young child, the birth mother had had her previous child taken for adoption as well, both after cases of neglect/abuse. When the woman fell pregnant again, SIL was asked if they would consider adopting the next child if needed as they were officially approved for 2 children - SS watched the mother carefully, and after 6 months deemed the child to be no longer at risk, so SIL was told they would not be adopting this one. So what has made the SS act differently in this case?

bogie Thu 18-Oct-07 19:21:12

What i don't understand is why when children are at risk or already being abused the social are to busy or don't think the child is at risk but the will take this baby without giving her a chance to prove them wrong? its disusting

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 19:28:22

I think one of the reasons they've done this is that they've got a diagnosis and she's been treated for mental problems, so there's no dispute. She can't fight those facts.

On the other hand the stepfather who tortured his daughter to death recently (leaving fourteen fractures in her body) didn't admit to anything to social workers so they didn't bother, even when the family didn't keep appointments. Result one dead child.

They're obviously picking off the easy cases.

Cod you're a magistrate what could we do to help Fran? Is it too late?

I can't just sit here & let this happen.....angry

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 19:34:47

I take your point Senora.

Fran Lyon came on mumsnet and posted a link to her site - she appears to have been open about the facts of her case. Does anywhere/anyone know WHY they rejected her appeal and on what grounds?

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 19:36:40

But Cod, they HAVEN'T jumped through hoops here. Look at the facts (as we have them) - they don't support removal of this baby. She's OFFERED to live in a mother and baby psychiatric unit and to be under constant supervision. And that's been turned down as I understand.

What kind of mad country do we live in that this can happen? I hope John Hemming is still involved.

WWW just re-read the link you posted earlier-

In the photo Fran appears to have a tracheostomy? Anyone know why? May have missed something?

Is this anything to do with her "condition" or maybe a reson why she ccan't lok after her child (can't think why not but....)

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 20:30:09

my ex's uncle and aunt are foster carers.

they had a little girl placed with them over and over again for years because her mother had (the then described) MbP.

some of her injuries were horrific, including one i remember vividly when she was 3. she was sat at the top of the stairs and kicked down them.
she had two broken arms and a wrist, a broken rib and covered from head to toe in bruises with a gash to her forehead.

thankfull after 9 years of being placed back with her mother each time she completed a course of therapy and being re admited to care after she did it again ex's aunt and uncle have now adopted her.

having seen first hand the result of MbP or whatever they wish to call it now...even if it just another form of abuse caused by another mental illness as yet unconfirmed...if this woman has the ability to harm a child in this way then yes, the child should be removed beofre the risk occurs and she should be observed vigilantly and given as much support as can be offered in order for her to stand any chance to have her child back.

this doesn't mean i have no sympathy for this woman. of course i do. i am certain that when she is "well" she misses her child dearly but for some the true test of love is to allow that child a better life, no matter how hard that is for themselves

puppydavies Thu 18-Oct-07 20:33:28

she has angioedema - swelling of the skin - according to this article

puppydavies Thu 18-Oct-07 20:33:51

snap bb

wannaBe Thu 18-Oct-07 20:37:53

There has to be more to this surely.

Is it standard practice for social services to be informed of a pregnancy if the patient has suffered from mental illness in the past? And if not, why were they informed on this occasion? Especially given that Fran had been discharged from the psychiatrist some years ago?

I am by no means advocating removing babies at birth, but we really only have heard one side of the story, and given this was in the media before the appeal, I do find it hard to believe that a baby would be removed purely on the basis that the patient "might" harm it, esp given fran has publically said she will go into a mother/baby unit etc and has said she will co-operate fully.

There has to be something that the media has not been told.

puppydavies Thu 18-Oct-07 20:38:47

mamazon, the point is that the only medical professional who believes that she may (in the future) have mbp has never met her. her baby hasn't been born yet. she is asking to be allowed to go into a mother and baby unit under 24 hr observation so that professionals can properly assess her behaviour with her baby. that chance has been denied on appeal.

renaldo Thu 18-Oct-07 20:50:47

but if you read the link her psychiatrist is not suggesting she has MSBP - the police were called during a domestic violence call with her ex and thats why she is under social services care - it is very hard to take a baby into care so there may be facts we are not privy to.

renaldo it is NOT difficult once the system swings into action. Difficult to just get an initial referral maybe but once the might of the SS flexes it's muscles watch out!

Yes maybe there are facts that we don't know about but as Fran herself has been very open about all of her problems, there is hardly a confidentiality issue to the mother is there? She has willingly agreed to be placed in a M&B unit so any assessments can be conducted with the baby safe & secure. If you read her web-site she is very calm & non-hysterical about it all (more than I would be in this situation with all the hormones flying round I can tell you!)and very understanding of how she can see there might be concerns raised by the SS.

morocco Thu 18-Oct-07 21:00:40

it isn't very hard to get a baby take into care, we just like to kid ourselves it is, and ss have targets on adoptions to meet, therefore an incentive to do so. all in news this last year or so.
poor woman and poor baby

lizziemun Thu 18-Oct-07 21:02:55

I realy don't understand how social services work in this country.

On one hand you have this story about a pregant women who may get some mental illness at some point although there is no proof of this happening. While in the daily mail (not mine, saw at SIL today) you have this story www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=488139&in_page_id=1770

Why can we not stop abuse happening whether it is a child or an innocent family.

Exactly Lizziemum.

Ladies ( & gents) if you want to write to someone as I have about this issue please find your MP on this link & email him/her

list of MP's

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:15:24

Message withdrawn

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:20:22

i must admit to not having read all the information on this case but i feel there MUST be more to this than is being reported.

why was she first placed under SS care? who reported her and what for?

this is not just one court case it was an appeal. that means that TWO seperate judges have agreed with apparantly just 1 Dr?

im sorry but it doesn't make much sense to me at all.
there is eitehr a hell of a lot of info missing or she has come up against two seperate judges who have sserious problems

Tortington Thu 18-Oct-07 21:21:22

i simply cannot believe that SS can pick and chose. There must be rigorous policies and strategies in place.

so rigorous in fact that we find many beaten up children becuase ss are afraid of being in another climbie scandle.

I therefore must conclude that until further evidence is seen, that ss made the right decision. We have no knowledge of the height of the ladies mental illness, past history, other children in her care in the past ..etc

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:24:15

i agree totally custy and as a social worker myself ( all be it a seperate field) i can assure you that no Ss cannot just pick and choose cases and no they cannot just decide they dont like the look of someone and remove a child.

it is NEVER down to just one SW to make such decisions, and it is usually a very long drawn out process which involves a great number of agencies

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:28:21

Message withdrawn

LittleBellaLugosi Thu 18-Oct-07 21:33:44

But would thye face the loss of their livelihood?

The woman who made the Cleveland decisions (now known to be patently wrong, and not just by accident, the SW's behaved disgracefully in the affair) got promoted and is now running a SS dept somewhere in Scotland.

So while I agree that openness and accountability should be the norm, even when it happens it doesn't look like accountability is the order of the day.

Oh dear I suppose thinking that makes me part of the conspiracy to undermine child protection workers or whatever that journalist in the link says. hmm

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 21:35:56

I agree smallwhitecat.

And whyever wouldn't they agree to a supervised mother and baby psychaitric unit if there are concerns?

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:38:09

Message withdrawn

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:39:03

As i social worker myself my main concern when making decisions like this was teh possibilty that if i got it wrong a child could die. my monthly wage was not even considered...ever.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 21:42:57

I'm not a SW but I wouldn't make assumptions about 'rigorous' or fairly applied policies.

Just like I wouldn't assume The Hutton enquiry got to the bottom of it or they were right in Orkney or that Sally Clark was wrongly jailed

morocco Thu 18-Oct-07 21:45:14

too right www

LittleBellaLugosi Thu 18-Oct-07 21:45:37

But it wouldn't hurt to have to consider that you might also be struck off your professional register. There are very few professions where you can utterly screw up and still go on to work within your profession. Social work appears to be one of them, judging by the Cleveland woman. (Or was it Orkney? I get the details confused.)

Although I do seem to remember the junior SW in the Victoria Climbie case being hung out to dry by the people who were running the dept. Wasn't she drummed out fo the profession? How did that happen without a professional register?

ELF1981 Thu 18-Oct-07 21:45:48

I'd rather die than let anybody take my child

I feel so sorry for this woman and her child. I am hoping somebody sees sense.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 21:45:58

What I meant was that Sally Clark WAS wrongly jailed. The courts and sws are not always right.

agree swc about the consequences being far more serious if you're a sw. Yet fk up as an accountant/lawyer/dr and you can't do your job any more. Consequences, useful things.

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:46:16

Message withdrawn

LittleBellaLugosi Thu 18-Oct-07 21:47:16

Oh totally agree with WWW

Can't imagine why the default assumption would be that the SW's and courts are right. They've got form on this sort of thing.

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 21:48:02

SWs do have a register.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:48:30

I agree that this is a profession where a mistake can be dire. but how many times whilst at work have you made a mistake? does iot mean your entire profession are incompetant? does it mean you are actually no good at your job or does it mean youmade a mistake?

Tortington Thu 18-Oct-07 21:48:53

they do have regulatory bodies such as the general social care council (GSCC) and the NCSC
The National Care Standards Commission

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:49:17

Message withdrawn

LittleBellaLugosi Thu 18-Oct-07 21:49:50

I thought they must have for the VC woman to be banned.

But how on earth has the Cleveland woman managed to evade being made accountable for her actions? It is absolutely undisputed that what happened there was a disgrace. I remember the children were suing. Don't know whether that's gone through, what the outcome was, etc.

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 21:51:16

whoops - over eager with the post message button. The GSCC register is reasonably new - within the last 3 years IIRC. SWs have to re-register every 3 years, and there is now the ability for people to be struck off. In addition, a considerable number of SWs in cases where there are tragic outcomes got sacked anyhow, and though there was no way for them to be struck off, they would be incredibly unlikely to ever be offered a job in that field again. Like most things, many have been rightly sacked, some have been scapegoated.

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 21:53:11

Message withdrawn

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:53:20

i don't kno the details of the cleveland case but yes we are registered with the GSCC and yes we can be removed from teh register...therefor prevented from working as a social worker

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 21:54:14

"why was she first placed under SS care? who reported her and what for?"

The police called in social services when she called them to attend an incident at her house where her partner was frightening her (she didn't mention what he was doing).

So basically a woman who was likely the victim of domestic abuse and calls for help is now threatened with losing her child. No wonder domestic violence flourishes in this country if this is how victims are treated.

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 21:56:15

a "conduct" referral (ie complaint) has to be made - by an individual, or an employer.

Hearings are, according to GSCC, "usually" held with access for the public. I am not sure what conditions would make them held in private, though I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same ones which mean family law cases are heard in private.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 21:57:39

that doesn't explain why sopcial services would have been involved?

i am a survivor of DV and i have not hd SS involvment when i had to call police for my ex beating the hell out of me.

im sorry to say this as i am sure she has made some friends here, but i really do not think the full facts in this case have been made available

wannaBe Thu 18-Oct-07 21:57:49

of course the family courts should be more open, but I simply do not believe that ss choose a child and decide to remove it for adoption purely to meet their targets, no matter what the tabloids would have us believe.

SS is one of those professions where the price for the cock-ups is high, but we don't seem to hear about the times they got it right - about the children they have taken from abusive families etc, because that doesn't make for sensationalist headlines.

I have no doubt that sS have cocked up in certain cases, as do doctors/lawyers/many other professions. But I do not believe that they can simply take a child away based on an assumption - two judges have concurred with this "evidence" so there is more to this than the media is telling us IMO.

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 22:00:08

Message withdrawn

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 22:00:19

they are held privatley in a case where both parties have requested a private hearing...usually internal problems.

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 22:02:39

wannabe - I understand why doing my job properly is not newsworthy. The idea is that if I am doing my job well, no mentally ill people should be wandering the streets in need of treatment and support, no one should harm themselves, or another person. "no-one died" - that's hardly news. it's a shame for me that people only notice me if things go wrong, but if I wanted glory, I'd have become an England footballer.
Or not.

wannaBe Thu 18-Oct-07 22:07:48

ImBarryScott not suggesting for one minute that you would do it for the glory , but the media are very quick to suggest that social services are incompetent whereas the cases where children have been removed from horrific abuce rarely get reported because for some reason it seems impossible to give ss the credit for anything.

Also, I wonder how many women go to the media in the name of Sally Clarke in the hope that they will receive public support and that SS will be condemned even if they are guilty of a crime. Not suggesting for one minute that this woman has done this, but I bet there are women that have.

morocco Thu 18-Oct-07 22:09:22

ah mamazon, you might think differently if you'd seen those sw in the video footage of their interviews in the cleveland case. that was not a mistake. it was appalling

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 22:13:23

the cleveland case was a tragic one, I agree.

However it does irk me a little that the case is synonymous with bad sw practice, rather that bad paediatric and sw practice, given that it was the paediatricians who were diagnosing "anal dilation" and attributing this to abuse (a theory now completely discredited).

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:14:21

Smallwhitecat has put her finger on it. SS and the family courts operate in the dark, without proper public scrutiny. That's how those evil bitches - and I'm sorry but there is no other way of putting it - who used their position as social workers to torment children during the Rochdale child abuse scandals a. got away with lying through their teeth to the court and b. were able to continue working. And c. have never, ever, answered to any of the now adult children whose lives were destroyed. And who continue to suffer to this day.

You cannot claim social services acts with any integrity at all when people like this are not only protected but keep working and even get promoted. Watch the footage from the despicable 'interviews' they carried out with children who were, it was alleged, victims of child abuse in Rochdale. Their treatment of those children was horrific.

And it's not just them. It's the people in charge of the department that let Victoria Climbie be murdered - the junior SW got it in the neck but her bosses were promoted. To nationally-important posts. There is example after example after example.

What's more, as a society, we are destroying children in care. We don't give a shit about them. Only something like 12 per cent get 'good' (A-C) GCSEs. Far too many end up mentally ill, homeless, pregnant in their teens or in prison. And the people responsible for this system want to take this woman's baby away because she 'may' harm it?

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:17:07

I'mBarry, the way ss and medics collude with each other in mass hysteria leaves neither side covered in glory, frankly. Reminds me forcefully of The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Marietta Higgs, the paediatrician you mentioned, can rot in hell as far as I'm concerned.

smallwhitecat Thu 18-Oct-07 22:18:40

Message withdrawn

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 22:24:05

yup, we pay! I agree that sw will remain a low-status, poorly valued occupation.

shame, really.

Although what's worse is the fact that people know so little about the broad range of things we do with different groups of people, and there remains a stigma attached to having any SW input. So lots of people miss out on getting linked in with some great services.

wannaBe Thu 18-Oct-07 22:26:28

makes for interesting reading.

Does John Hemmings have his own agenda? hmm

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:26:46

IBS, round my way ss is leaving children in care, child carers, adult carers and pretty much everyone who needs their help to rot. I'm sure it's to do with senior management being arses, not having enough bums on seats, etc. etc. etc. But the people who suffer are those who are least able to cope.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:30:04

Well, thank God John Hemmings is taking an interest in this area, because no other bugger is. And there are a series of miscarriages of justice, the same mistakes being made time and again, with no official recognition of wrongdoing, let alone holding anyone responsible. The whole system is rotten to the very core.

ImBarryScott Thu 18-Oct-07 22:33:30

edam that's very sad. I think you pinpoint one of the problems as acute staff shortages - I think some areas work on 50% vacancies. this means that workers end up having to prioritise work, and end up only working with those in crisis. Medium-term and preventative work is neglected as there's not enough hours in the day, and lo and behold, these people fall into crisis too. Then every case is in crisis, and you've still only got half the number of workers you need to cover the work in the first place.

And no, I'm not asking for sympathy, just trying to explain why things got so bad.

Right, I have to go to bed, so that I can do a good job in the morning wink.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:38:25

I'm sure that is the case, IBS, and it's appalling (and I bet my bottom dollar that the bosses at my crappy council are doing sod-all to recruit and retain experienced SWs). But there is still a major crisis to do with ethics and the treatment of mothers.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 22:38:50

oh i think i have a vague memory of the cleveland case after all. yes im sure it was actually the case that SS took the word of a senior peadiatrician and tehrefore ran with the case and had the child removed.

would poeple rather SS disregarded the advice of a top Dr?

this really is a proffession where you cannot do right for doing wrong.

i think maybe i should ask the Sun to run an article of the case where i had a young girl who was persitantly shoplifting. after months of talking with her as her refferal worker i worked out that she was stealing in teh hopes she would be sent to prison to escape her sexually abusive father.

or maybe i could bring up the time when i along with my colleague realised there was something not right about the boy who was so evasive about us being in contact with his parents. we did a home visit and discovered his mother was a severe drug addict and at 12 years old he was pretty much bringing himself up and putting up with horrific abuse from his mothers addict friends.

or maybe the case where........i could go on forever.

but i dont suppose they would be interested. it doesn't show me as incompetant and it doesn't make my proffession seem like it is run by a bunch of monkeys that put children at risk on a daily basis...so it therefore cannot possibly be newspworthy.

I get tired of defending the career path i chose. Do all Dr's get treated with suspicion when dealing with teh elderly because there was a high profile case about a man named Dr Shipley?
do all SCBU nurses get looked at funny because of beverly Allet?

no, because it is accepted that in the main these caring professions do a fantastic and under valued job.

but our roel is one that no one wants to have an invovement with. no one has a good word to say about us because, lets face it no one wants a social worker so we are alwasy viewed negativly

Wannabe I was just going to post that link again I did earlier. Why does John Hemmings have to have his own agenda? (any more than any other politician with his eye on the vote does IYSWIM! )

To my mind it answers some of the questions put on here by marmazon & others in the SW field. Obviously they think there is more to it than meets the eye, but I repeat if the mother is being open & frank about her nnebtal health history & where she is now then why the need for secrecy? Who are we protecting? If she has offered to go into a M&B unit why is that not allowed?

Not trying to be inflammatory but I would really appreciate some guidance from those in the know.

nnebtal =mental sorry!

sorry marmazon x-posted with you -not haivng a pop honestly just concerned.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 22:48:47

I'm a journalist, Mamazon, and I'd be interested in covering those cases. But in practice you wouldn't put me in touch with the people concerned, in order to protect their confidentiality. (If you are seriously interested in raising these issues, CAT me.)

As for top docs, I've already mentioned that a very eminent doctor of my aquaintance was actually threatened by SWs (and medics involved in child protection) for daring to point out that they were getting a tad carried away fabricating ludicrous allegations about one of his patients with no evidence.

mamazon i know many very good social workers, but they like you act reasonably in awful cases like the ones you mentioned.

This one doesn't seem to be being reasonably handled & until we can get assurances from Fran that she is getting her questions answered I will continue to think that.

I think the confidentiality thing is a smokescreen in this particular case.

HUNXXXX Thu 18-Oct-07 22:54:53

no no advice
not my bag

ok cod/hun thanks for replying any way

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 23:03:39

"Why does John Hemmings have to have his own agenda? (any more than any other politician with his eye on the vote does IYSWIM! ) "

It said in that Community Care link that a woman who was pregnant by him (he's married) was threatened with having her baby put on the "at risk" register.

Now how a magazine like Community Care (the trade mag for social workers) got hold of that juicy little tidbit when these sort of cases are supposed to be confidential is anybody's guess. I guess it's OK when social workers are breaching confidentiality, just not when parents do it to complain in public about the injustices they and their children have suffered.

The only reason why we ever heard about Angela Cannings or Sally Clark is because their children are dead. A parent who has had their living child taken from them on a MSBP diagnosis is gagged and so are any journalists who want to cover their case.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 23:03:39

"Why does John Hemmings have to have his own agenda? (any more than any other politician with his eye on the vote does IYSWIM! ) "

It said in that Community Care link that a woman who was pregnant by him (he's married) was threatened with having her baby put on the "at risk" register.

Now how a magazine like Community Care (the trade mag for social workers) got hold of that juicy little tidbit when these sort of cases are supposed to be confidential is anybody's guess. I guess it's OK when social workers are breaching confidentiality, just not when parents do it to complain in public about the injustices they and their children have suffered.

The only reason why we ever heard about Angela Cannings or Sally Clark is because their children are dead. A parent who has had their living child taken from them on a MSBP diagnosis is gagged and so are any journalists who want to cover their case.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:05:49

edam - whilst i would love to show the good social workers do on a daily basis i would rather not be teh spokesperon for teh proffession....i imagine it is very frightening on the firing line and however positive yoru story wasy there would alwasy be someone that will want to take a pop.

and of course confidentiality would mean i could never give full accounts of what happened anyway.

but thanks for the offer.

well-spotted Elizabeth I missed that little gem grin

SpawnChorus Thu 18-Oct-07 23:10:29

Elizabetth - this thread makes chilling reading. It really does sad

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:11:31

and there's the answer to your question, Mamazon. That's why coverage of social services is negative (apart from the fact that most news is bad news anyway).

I have actually written plenty of articles about good stuff social services has done, as it happens. Doesn't mean there isn't something extremely rotten at the very heart of the profession over so-called MSbP or FII, though.

mamazon the thing that I object to is the way mistakes KEEP happening despite all the lessons learnt. Anyone remember the Maria Caldwell case in the 70's?

A new committe was formed to
"promote good inter-disciplinary practice in preventing and dealing with the causes and effects of child abuse;
assess issues of significance in collaborative working which arise from the handling of cases and from reports on inquiries;
review arrangements for providing expert advice and inter-agency liaison"

It's all good talk but nothing changes.

AS someone else said earlier, if the incompetant ones were sacked, the good ones like you wouldn't have to be tarred with the same brush. There HAS to be some accountability.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:13:35

could i ask a question?

is there anyone on this thread in full possession of the facts that have lead to this ruling?

No of course not Sophie but we have Fran's side & it seems quite reasonable. HAve you read her web-site?

only asking for a chance

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:19:16

ni agree. most social workers would quite like to have a body come in and remove the dead wood from the service.
there are a great number of old school Sw's that really havent got a clue. they are set in their wasy and have no idea about teh real world anymore.

but they are in teh minority and yet get the most attention.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:21:33


you have a website by the woman in question and her posts on here.

are you all completely nuts?

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:23:50

Sophable, thing is there have been so many clearly established miscarriages of justice. All on the same theme. Repeating the same mistakes. So I'm not happy to take it on trust that all is for the best in the best possible world.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:24:32

Sally Clark. Angela Cannings. Trupti Patel. Bunglie, FGS - spot a theme here?

No and neither is she just asking for her case to be heard openly and fairly as is her right as a british citizen.

OK if you think she IS nuts what about the rights of the child? Does she not deserve at least to have her first few days with her mum in a M&B unit where they can assess her?

I'm not so naive as to ignore the risk that she is manipulating her audience but I have dealt with enough mental health issues to know she still has rights as a mother.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:25:58

edam, you know how difficult it is to take a child away from it's parents now? you do understand that don't you?

and it's all a misogynist conspiracy. maybe.

but the fact is, you know fuck all! you know what a desperate woman has posted on here and on her website!!!!

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:27:15

i agree that there have been some awful disasters within this field BUT this ladies account account just doesn't make any sense given what i KNOW must have taken place to have reached a failed appeal stage.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:27:41

i didn't say SHE was nuts. i have no fucking clue whether or not she is a risk to her child.

i am saying that YOU are nuts to be so indignant on this thread based on nothing but a desperate mothers' evidence and accusing social services of misogyny and conspiracy.

sophable we have been having a reasoned debate. I know it's a contencious subject but there's no need to turn it into a slanging match.

What's your take on this then?

Apart from disagreeing with us?grin

Apologies ok ....We are the nut-cases glad we cleared that up.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:30:42

i'm not turning this into something other than disagreeing with the consensus on this thread.

it is VERY difficult to get this kind of ruling. obviously there is more to this. i have no idea if this is miscarriage of justice...it is unlikely but not impossible.

but the level of mumsienet oooo lets all band together for this poor woman against those wicked wicked social services and their grand vizier psychiatrist buddies is nuts.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:31:56

Well gee thanks Sophable. Guess that puts me right in my place. I'll just trust that there is nothing wrong with a system that protects the people who let Victoria Climbie be murdered, that tried to silence one of the most prominent doctors in the country when he dared to object to a witch-hunt, that lets the Rochdale sws keep working, that hushed up the cases in the family courts resting on Roy Meadows' evidence...

If it doesn't bother you, fine, go off and do something that does interest you. But don't tell me not to care about miscarriages of justice.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:32:16

lol soph - its great to know your on our side

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:33:14

and edam, no i'm not spotting a theme. i'm spotting four news stories. terrible tragic news stories but their rarity is why they make the news.

have no idea whether the diagnosis credited or not but is a very wounded individual capable of hurting their child and pretending it is sick....absolutely 100%

cat64 Thu 18-Oct-07 23:33:32

Message withdrawn

Ok mamazon talk us thoruhg the procedure that leads to an appeal being turned down. Obviously you can't comment on this case but what's the sequence of events?

(genuinely interested here BTW-trying to understand.)

sophable it's not a witch hunt against SS
it's the right for a woman to have her child & be assessed fairly, There are far worse situations than this that allow mothers &babes to stay together under supervision.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:34:16

Oh for heaven's sake, you don't have to be a victim of Roy Meadows to know that there are very, very serious systemic failures that have not been addressed. Hence, any current cases that have features in common with established miscarriages of justice are open to question.

sophable Thu 18-Oct-07 23:35:38

you are basing your evidence for a miscarriage of justice on the accused posts and website.

if it was a murderer not a mum would you be as indignantly self righteously sure of your correct miscarriage of justice diagnosis.

this is on here because the thought of having a baby taken away at birth is unbearable.

that is it.

there are miscarriages of justice. however, based on the evidence you have, i don't get why you are so convinced this is one?

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:35:41

i think that what Soph was getting at is that whilst we are aware of previous poorly handled cases there is nothing but the mothers statement to say that there has been anytghing handled badly here.

both myself and wannabe have said that there is a great deal of procedurla stuff that MUST have occured prior to her getting to this stage which she has not mentioned.

whilst we should always support a lone fighter against a givernment machine, we must also appreciate that if the lone fighter has an agenda it may be that we could join a fight that should not be fought.

Great talking to you ladies but I must hit the sack.

I would still like to have that procedure explained Mamazon if you have the time, it's obviously complicated. Thanks.

edam Thu 18-Oct-07 23:39:59

The point is those tragic stories are not unconnected. The legal system has recognised that they are real problems with, for instance, the use of expert witnesses - there's been recent guidance on this. And guess what, expert witness evidence is relevant in this case.

The review of MSbP cases brought before the family courts after the Clark case was exposed as a miscarriage of justice was woefully inadequate. There are very good reasons for questioning current custom and practice.

But clearly we should all just listen to Sophable and not worry our pretty little heads about it.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:42:25

when she was first bought to teh attention of SS she would have had an assemsent visit.
if teh SW was concerned they would have had a meeting with their line manager.
they would both go visit again and the baby would be placed on an at risk regsiter.

they would have frequant case meetings involving the lady's GP and midwives. and any other agencies involved with her care.

if after frequant vistis and meeting ( and i really do mean frequant not just one or 2) then a decision would be made at a senior level to proceed with legal proceedings to admit the child into care.
the mother woudl be informed of this and would be given teh oppertunity to seek legal representation.

the hearing would hear from all involved including anyone the mother wanted to call on her behalf.
a judge would rule given teh facts in front of him/her.

none of this happens over night.

mamazon Thu 18-Oct-07 23:43:49

just to add, i am not a child protection officer i work within the youth justice system ( or at least i did lol) so my knowledge is not first hand.

but obvioulsy i have experiance from teh side of teh child.
if that makes sense.

basicly if a CPT officer is on here they can explain it in great er detail.

Elizabetth Thu 18-Oct-07 23:50:54

The fact that the discredited diagnosis of MSBP has been brought up in this case is a huge red flag.

"terrible tragic news stories but their rarity is why they make the news."

No, the reason why these particular stories make the news is in this case the baby hasn't been born yet and in the other cases the children were dead. Living children taken from their parents cannot be reported upon because of contempt of court. These cases are not rare.

Did you read the figure I posted further up thread that 2000 children were taken from their parents last year to be put up for adoption compared to a third of the number ten years ago.

Pretending that this is a one-sided debate with no facts is just ridiculous.

WideWebWitch Thu 18-Oct-07 23:58:35

Sophable, why are you being so aggressive and calling us nuts? It's not nuts to be concerned about this case, or any other we choose to discuss. No-one is saying all social workers are wrong, all mothers are right, this woman is right. What many people are saying on this thread is

- that the secrecy of the family courts is wrong
- that there have been well documented fk up in this area
- that on the face of it (and no, we agree we don't know everything) this seems wrong: this woman has offered to be continually monitored in a mother and baby unit. The minute the baby is born she may well be subject to an order that means she can't discuss it again.
- surely it's fair enough that she puts her case? Wouldn't you? and if you think it couldn't happen to you or any of us, read my posts on the other thread. I pretty much had a dr tell me I had better take some anti depressants "or you might get your child taken away" - because I was UPSET/borderline depressed! I wasn't anything else and yet I was threatened with that fairly pronto by a doctor who was meeting me for the first time.

Really, you question that there's widespread misogyny surrounding domestic violence/mental illness/rape/justice system. Do you? Really? I am surprised.

Forgive us if we question it, it's fair enough to do so imo.

hunkermunker Fri 19-Oct-07 00:01:59

Sophable, aren't you studying psychiatry? Or something similar?

Do you often refer to people as being "nuts"?

hunkermunker Fri 19-Oct-07 00:03:40

I think Bunglie might have something to say about miscarriages of justice in the family court system. sad

Sophable, did you see the MP supporting this woman?

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 00:23:47

"if it was a murderer not a mum would you be as indignantly self righteously sure of your correct miscarriage of justice diagnosis. "

You don't seem to be able to tell the difference between someone being charged with a crime and someone who has done nothing having a judgement made against them based on speculation, speculation that the various doctors involved aren't even agreed upon. Comparing her to a murderer is simply outrageous.

You do understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty don't you? She's being accused of and found guilty of being a danger to her child before her child even exists. I hope you aren't training to be a psychiatrist because your lack of a grasp on those basic facts or the realities of the case is rather scary.

I agree that this thread isn't a slag off social workers thread. All the SWs I've met involved in child protection are very clear that the consequences of them doing a bad job are that children are harmed
I also agree that we obviously aren't being told all the facts.

That in itself is worrying (although I understand the need for confidentiality) as surely now woman are less likely to seek help for rape, self harm or depression because of a very real worry their children will be taken away. Also, if FL appeals again and wins (not sure if another appeal is possible) do you think she'd dare seek medical help for her DD when she has the usual childhood illnesses / accidents?

mamzon, I know this isn't your area, but can you think of any circumstances where a request to stay in a mother and baby unit in this sort of case would be refused? (I don't want you to speculate, just if you know whether it's common or not?)

Thanks Mamazon for going through that for me. I can see that would be the case for a child at risk but this child is yet unborn so how can they assess the risk?

Fran is currently no more a threat to her child than you or me according to her psychiatrist & SHE's the one who knows her mental state the best surely?

I appreciate we DON'T know all the facts but as SMB says surely the fact that Fran has offered to be assessed is good & worth considering.

it bothers me too that the confidentiality get-out is being used. If FL has (and I admit we have to consider it might be IF although I hope not)really been as open & frank as she appears to have been about her history then why the secrecy? Police /other care workers are bound by confidentiality but are still open to criticism, investigation & review AND they have to justify their actions to the client/suspect too.

ImBarryScott Fri 19-Oct-07 08:44:56

sharp molar bear - I am a Mental Health SW, but could have a guess at the answer to your question (a guess only!).

I suppose that if one believes wholeheartedly in the concept of Munchausen's by Proxy, and believe that this is a condition which could lead someone to harm a child given any opportunity, then it could logically follwo that it would be too risky for them to be in an MBU, both for the sake of their child and the safety of other children. In my experience of these units, one is normally expected to spend time alone with one's baby, carrying out normal babycare stuff, as part of the process of assessment, and one has to be assessed as being safe (to a certain degree) around one's own children, and the children of others.

I once referred a woman to an MBU, after she suffered a Bi-polar relapse requiring inpatient treatment. It took considerable persuasion for the unit to agree that it was safe for her to be admitted, and I wasn't party to their risk assessment.

ImBarryScott Fri 19-Oct-07 08:44:56

sharp molar bear - I am a Mental Health SW, but could have a guess at the answer to your question (a guess only!).

I suppose that if one believes wholeheartedly in the concept of Munchausen's by Proxy, and believe that this is a condition which could lead someone to harm a child given any opportunity, then it could logically follwo that it would be too risky for them to be in an MBU, both for the sake of their child and the safety of other children. In my experience of these units, one is normally expected to spend time alone with one's baby, carrying out normal babycare stuff, as part of the process of assessment, and one has to be assessed as being safe (to a certain degree) around one's own children, and the children of others.

I once referred a woman to an MBU, after she suffered a Bi-polar relapse requiring inpatient treatment. It took considerable persuasion for the unit to agree that it was safe for her to be admitted, and I wasn't party to their risk assessment.

ImBarryScott Fri 19-Oct-07 08:47:05

sorry for double post.

WWW, I am shocked and saddened to hear of your doctor's response to you. What your doctor told you was not only incredibly unkind and upsetting, but legally wrong. I have worked with many people with mental illnesses who also parent successful (and also have a family member in this situation).

IBS how refreshing to get some more authoritative opinion!

Do I take it that you DON'T wholly believe in MBP-or am I misenterpreting your words (if so sorrygrin)

Could I ask if in your work you find it's a largely discreditied theory or one that is clung to?

ImBarryScott Fri 19-Oct-07 08:58:09

bossybritches - I am afraid I don'tvhave any professional experience of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. It does feature in the ICD-10 (diagnostics manual for psychiatry). However IMO psychiatry is both an art as well as a science, and is influenced by various external and cultural factors. Homosexuality was once listed in this manual!

However, I would add that there are documented cases of parents inducing illness in their children, and this is a worrying issue which must be assessed where there are concerns about children's safety. However, whether we should view such abuse risk factors within a medical/psychiatric framework, and assume it is a syndrome to be diagnosed, I am not sure.

WideWebWitch Fri 19-Oct-07 09:02:34

ImBarryScott, thanks. You know, I thought it couldn't happen to me. I was a successful, professional middle class woman of 33. Yet that doctor judged me for

- leaving my husband (unhappy marriage, no abuse or anything, just a mismatch) - he even questioned WHY, how dare he?
- having a termination
- having had a boyfriend after leaving my husband (he's now my dh#2)
- being a lone parent
- being upset because of all of the above and my best friend at the time suddenly deciding to drop me in a new town where I knew no-one

I went to see him because ds, who was 2 at the time wasn't sleeping and I hadn't slept for about 5 nights in a row. That plus all the above plus having no car to be able to leave/get to a friends house (I lived in an inaccessible part of Devon with no public transport) meant I couldn't stop crying. I had no history of depression (other than mild and unmedicated pnd) or anything else, I had £47k in the bank (not that it's relevant) but that dr THREATENED me with taking away my son . He'd never met me before. It was at the drop of a hat. I am blonde and I don't suppose it helped. It was completely outrageous and the social worker who was sent to meet me (at this doctor's instigation) agreed there was no issue and it was in appropriate. He suggested "You might wnat to make a complaint against that GP but I understand that you might not want to while you're still living here."

But guess what? I didn't. I shut up, put my head down, kept quiet. I was subdued because I'd been threatened with the worst possible thing when all I needed was some help/counsellnig/time.

This isn't all about me, sorry for going on but it just shows you how easily ONE doctor can make it happen. If I'd have had a SW who decided to agree it could all have spiralled VERY quickly. And when the SW visited I made sure my mum was there, my son was smart, my house was spotless, I was calm etc, I was TERRIFIED. And I'd done NOTHNIG WRONG.

WWW what a terrible experience for you! I see now as well why you empathise with Fran.

It IS frightening how things can kick into place so quickly on the say-so of one over-zealous GP thank god in your case the SW was on the ball & made a sane judgement.

IBS thanks. So it's not a fool proof, fully supervised option.
WWW, what an awful time you had So glad it went no further.

But why should Fran who has not got a child and who has not (as far as we know)had mental health issues of any significant concern for several years then why should she be considered so high a risk for such M&B unit?

It doesn't seem to follow...I can see now why M&B units wouldn't be suitable for ALL mothers with MH issues but taking a babe away at birth is SO draconian!

WideWebWitch Fri 19-Oct-07 09:44:31

Thanks, but this isn't about me, apologies for my long post earlier, it was 8 years ago now, it's fine but I posted that just to show how easily it can happen.

I appreciate that it's not the same as Fran's case and none of us know the full details of that but I think it's relevant that misogynist doctors who don't think women should leave their husbands or have terminations can order SWs to turn up to assess someone who just needed some sympathy/sleep and to talk to someone.

That part could happen to any of us. And I didn't really believe it could until it happened to me.

EXACTLY www, that's the frightening bit.

It must have been dreadful for you, thank you for sharing it, shows it can happen to anyone.

But to get back to my original reason for posting on this thread many words ago...

Is there anything we can do to help Fran to highlight her case?

Don't know that she wants us to?!

Fran if you are lurking let us know if we can help in any way?

PeachyFleshCrawlingWithBugs Fri 19-Oct-07 10:25:49

'do all SCBU nurses get looked at funny because of beverly Allet? '

Actually I was in nurse training at that time, and a very good indeed trainee nurse was asked to leave because of a history of depression (no contention there- he spoke to the whole class about it and the teachers admitted it was due to a fear of disrepute / reprisals rather than any fears over him per se), so it DID happen at that time!

But I know there are good SW out there- have worked alongside many. There are quite a few not so good ones though, eg the ones that won't return our calls with the resyult that ds3 still isn't on the disability index.

Every job ahs a fair share of good / bad staff members, not every job ahs the potential to destroy ives in quite the same way.

there are forms of monitoring besides M&B units I have seen owrk- I have known patients to be relased from hospital after a spell with puerperal psychosis to be given 24/7 supervision in their own home by a multidisplinary team built alomost of anyone they could get- homestart, surestart etc. This was after M&B unit admission, as a mid road.

bethoo Fri 19-Oct-07 10:33:37

bloody hell, it is stories like these that put me off going to HV etc incase of wrongly accused!
it angers me hos they get the wrong people, that poor woman and to think about all those children who have died at home and social services did nothing like that little african girl who lived out the bin and was tortured being kept in a cage!
i read somewhere about social services taking babies for adoption, something about a quota. horrifying stuff

StIncognita Fri 19-Oct-07 11:13:25

"Every job ahs a fair share of good / bad staff members, not every job ahs the potential to destroy ives in quite the same way."

Peachy, this is the crux of it, yes. sad

PeachyFleshCrawlingWithBugs Fri 19-Oct-07 11:21:39

Apart from the speeling obv blush

oh dear

HairyIrene Fri 19-Oct-07 11:21:45

crikey..just read this..and have so little time, gotta run...

am truly shocked at the treatment of this woman
and unborn baby

totally agree edam

www your story is horrific and so scary, glad it had the outcome it did

sophable.. you should read the thread from the start

SW, ..like any profession there is good and bad dedicated and those who are not, BUT Their mistakes can change blight scar ruin many lifes far and beyond...

check the record, check the guy's track record...

Just had this email from John Hemming-swift repsonse considering I only sent it late last night.

"Thank you for this message of support for Fran. There are various Early Day Motions that your MP could sign (tabled in my name). I have blind copied Fran in on the email and she may have other suggestions"

If anyone wants to do the same please do.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 11:44:31

Having read this thread and trying to assimilate all the information available from the links, I found this part to be the most informative.

Despite this support, endorsed by other psychiatrists and Miss Lyon's GP, social services based their recommendation partly on a letter from Dr Martin Ward Platt, a consultant paediatrician, who was unable to attend the meeting.

He wrote: _"Even in the absence of a psychological assessment, if the professionals were concerned on the evidence available that Miss Holton (as Miss Lyon was briefly known), probably does fabricate or induce illness, there would be no option but the precautionary principle of taking the baby into foster care at birth, *pending a post-natal forensic psychological assessment*."_

Miss Lyon said she was determined to fight the decision. "I know I can be a good mother to Molly. I just want the chance to prove it," she said.

The council said the recommendation would be subject to further assessment and review. _"When making such difficult decisions, safeguarding children is our foremost priority,"_ a spokesman said.

My understanding of this is that the situation will be reviewed following the birth. This is the usual practise.

I have been involved in similar situations and following assessment most babies have been left in the mothers care albeit with very close Social workers input.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 11:46:42

I failed miserably to highlight and undersore the salient points.

As I understand it the key phrase is

*"if the professionals were concerned on the evidence available"*

The paediatrician quoted wasn't even AT the meeting, the psychiatrist who knows & has treated Fran wasn't quoted or involved in any way so where did they get this "EVIDENCE" ?

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 13:36:03

Perhaps I don't read this like others, but if there are causes for concern then surely the right and proper thing to do is have them highlighted.

If a postnatal assessment is carried out and all things are well, which they should be if what Fran says is correct, then surely she will be allowed to be with her baby.

I have not read anywhere that states that she will never be allowed to have care of her baby, just that all concerned persons have taken all possible steps to ensure the baby's wellfare.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 13:37:13

The other reason why they will want to get the baby away from her quickly rather than sending them to the mother and baby unit is that they can then argue there is no mother and baby bond (despite her baby having been inside her for nine months).

If they waited and allowed a relationship to grow it would be harder to persuade a court to take the baby away further down the line.

WideWebWitch Fri 19-Oct-07 13:40:00

The thing that gets me is that SHE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING WRONG (OK, as far as we know although we do know of at least 2 men who have wronged her, the rapist and her ex) - the baby hasn't been born yet.

You know, in her position I really think I would be fleeing to another country, as lots of people said on the other thread.

WideWebWitch Fri 19-Oct-07 13:41:03

But NNT, I think they're saynig they will take the baby immediately and NOT allow her to unndergo post natal assessment. That's how I've read it anyway

I quite agree with you, NoNAme but as I understand it the plan is to take the baby away at birth. Fran has pleaded to have a post-natal assessment in a M&B unit but it has been turned down. IBS says it's possibly because there has to be a level of trust placed on the mother as they are not supervised 24/7. So it seems that after 7 years of no MH issues the possibility of Fran harming her child is SO great they feel the baby has to taken away AT BIRTH??

Please feel free to correct me if I've any of these points wrong, they are after all only taken from media reports & Frans own web-site.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 13:42:22

The fact that the paediatrician wasn't present does not detract from his statement regarding the professionals' concern on the evidence avaialable.

Agreed but he had never met the patient & equally the two letters of support she had that weren't read out, from 2 doctors who DID know her should also have been given credence

and angry this is still happening.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 13:47:02

Martin Ward Platt gave evidence in the trial against Angela Cannings.

It is frightening that a paediatrician is allowed to give evidence regarding an adult's psychiatric state, a field he has no experience or authority in.

I can't believe that after all the scandals over Roy Meadow that this kind of thing is still going on in the family courts. It beggars belief.

winnie Fri 19-Oct-07 13:47:35

I have only just seen this and I find it outrageous. At least 1 in 3 people in this country suffer from mental health problems at some time in their lives does this ruling mean that any woman with a history of mental health problems can have her baby taken away from her at birth? I feel so bad on her and her babys behalf and it also concerns me because of the misogynist principles behind it. As so many of you have said 'she has done nothing wrong'

I know for a fact that in another case the SW and GAL had private meeting with child psychiatrist in which they advised the psych not to believe a word said by the mother as mother is very mainipulative & lies.. (also the GAL and psych were friends) hmm this was the admissable 'expert witness' THe other witnesses (2 psychiatrists who supported the mother, both of wihich had treated mother and long term assessment) were deemed bias so inadmissable.

The familycourt system is completely screwed.

oo and it was a child psychiatrist not adult that ended up giving the evidence. GOtta go for now as dentist but will pop back later.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 13:54:52

More info on the drive for social workers to meet targets for adoption:


The targets are there to encourage adoption of children already in care who are hard to place. Of course once you bring a baby into care and then get it adopted quickly, the baby will be included in the "successful" figures. The hard to place children will still be hard to place. A recipe for disaster.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 13:58:14

From my experience bossybritches, concerns that are raised during pregnancy regarding the unborn childs welfare and safet are always acted upon in a similar manner to this particular one.

Depending upon the extent of the concerns regarding physical, mental, sexual, and emotional abuse, case conferences are held and thee known facts/evidence are taken into consideration.

Sometimes the decision is to oversee the mum and her care of the baby, this is usually a 10 day stay in the hospital during which her care of the baby is observed and assessed.

Very very rarely have I known a baby to be taken away at birth with no further contact for the mother!

It isn't always the case that it is the mother who is causing concern, it can be partners and/or other family members who are the cause of concern, sometimes even frequent visitors who are known by Social Workers to have 'problems'.

I feel for all mothers who are in this situation, some not by their own actions, some who are truly culpable, but we as society have a main duty to care for a vulnerable child and put their concerns first.

I hope their will be a positive outcome for Fran and her baby, at the same time I will uphold the right of the'professional' to try to do their best in what is a minefield.

Sorry for the long post.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 14:03:58

If that means upholding the right of "professionals" who listen to the likes of Martin Ward Platt when he has no training in adult psychiatry as far as I know (he also gave evidence at the Trupti Patel case on the cause of death of her baby when he is not a pathologist) and remove people's children on no actual evidence then you need to take a second look at what your principles actually mean, nonametoday.

Don't apologise NoName we're all doing long posts !

I totally agree with what you have said but if the SW team involved are genuinely concerned, why don't they discuss these concerns with Fran? Why the secrecy & disregard for other professionals judgments?

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 14:20:37

As other posters have said bossybritches, on here we have only Fran's side of the story.

I am not suggesting that hers is anything but an honest interpretation of her version of the situation, we would have to know everything about everything and every body involved to make a judgement(plus the understanding of the relevent laws,medical, psycological conditions etc.

That is why posts on here are difficult to answer in depth, there is so much involved.

I do not know whether Fran is totally correct in her relating of the situation, I hope she is.

That's the problem, none of us know.

I can only speak from my experience, it may have no bearing on Fran'r situation.

Marne Fri 19-Oct-07 14:21:11

This is so sad

I self harmed when i was younger but this does'nt meen i'm at risk to my children.

I think she should be given a chance of being a mother. Social services could keep a close eye on her and offer help if she needs it.

Fran- my heart goes out to you.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 14:29:58

Well Elizabetth, I don't know what your principles are, nor your qualifications or experience which allow you to judge situations and people.

I do my best and I don't think I could ask anyone to do anymore than their best in any situation.

I can't say I have never been wrong! can you?

I hope I have learned along the way to be tolerant and less judgmental than some folks.

The truth isn't always what we expect and the results can shock us.

If you know more about this particular case, then you may be able to shed light on the decision to take the baby into care.

I don't know the facts, I do know that there are instances wher people didn't always do the right thing, but at the time, they believed they had.

To err is human, to forgive is devine.

NoNameToday Fri 19-Oct-07 14:32:43

Spelling!!! Divine. I'm great with pen and paper, but keyboards... get me very time.

geekgirl Fri 19-Oct-07 14:32:46

Of course NoName sorry -just feel so bloody angry I realise we don't possibly know all the facts but I'd hate he thought that this baby & Mum are going to suffer, & even if it does turn out ok in the end what a trauma for fran at a time when she should be resting & relaxing!

3andnogore Fri 19-Oct-07 14:41:14

This is awful (only read the beginning of the thread, btw...as to many messages...)....

I mean, by all means monitor someone closely if tehre are worries...but why on earth do they even believe she would suffer with Muenchhausen by proxy...what are the indicators here?

Someone mentioned that MbP doesn't exist...am not entirely sure about this...especially after reading the book "Sickened"....

geekgirl I posted that link further down this (very!) long thread but to me it actually raises more questions than it answers!

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 15:28:44

Well that all sounds very lovely nonametoday, but the fact is that there are systemic problems in child protection and the family courts, particularly around the expert witnesses they use.

I think if you're asking people to be less judgemental you should start with the social workers and Martin Ward Platt who are recommending that this woman has her baby taken away because they judge her to be a serious risk, despite having no evidence that she has ever abused a child to base it on.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 15:31:31

Geekgirl, that so-called non-hysterical article contains private information about a man and his child that they have no business divulging and threats to out Fran Lyon's medical history.

It's a vile article and reflects very badly on the social work profession.

PeachyFleshCrawlingWithBugs Fri 19-Oct-07 15:46:27

'From my experience bossybritches, concerns that are raised during pregnancy regarding the unborn childs welfare and safet are always acted upon in a similar manner to this particular one.

Sadly I knew of a case where Mum ahd tried to self abort at full term, was an alcoholic and alone with 6 kids who wandered the dtreets all night and SS decided there was no case for intervention [hm] even though 7 year old hadnt attended school for 6 months because Mum fancied the company

sadly consistency seems to lack!

3andnogore Fri 19-Oct-07 16:21:53

indeed Peachy

Ok so where do we go from here?

LaDiDaDi Fri 19-Oct-07 20:26:56

I've read this thread and others previously on the same topic and I'm mainly with sophable and NoNameToday on this.

We do not know the full facts of this case, and I would agree with others that the secrecy around the family needs to be reviewed.

MWP's letter seems to be taken as reading that he thinks that FL's baby must be taken into care and that he is making a judgement about her mental health. Actually, from the text that I have seen here and elsewhere, he seems to be implying that SW need to make their own judgement about the likelihod of her fabricating or inducing illness or otherwise harming a child. If they think that this is likely then the child should be removed at birth. He does not appear to say that he thinks it's likely. He does seem to say that before any long-term arrangement were made for the child then psychological assessment should be made. Without knowing what other information SS hold and further details about the background of FL, and let's face it, why the hell should we know this personal info, then we cannot really say if ss have a right to be concerned or not. I accept that on the info we have it may seem unlikely but we do not know the full story.

Whilst the Label of Muchausen's syndrome by Proxy has been discredited we know that parents do induce and fabricate illness in children and that this can be abusive either by the emotional harm that can be done to a child how is led to believe that they are ill when they are not or by the physical procedures that they endure.
Consider a spectrum of parental behaviour in response to illness in their children. Most parents fall in the middle, appropriately seeking medical attention for their children. Some may miss hospital appointments but their child may come to no harm. Some may present frequently to GP or A+E with trivial illnesses. All are within the range of normal.
Some parents fail to keep appointments that lead to their child coming to harm, fall to give important medicines, fail to comply with special diets/feeding. If the child is harmed then this is neglectful.
At the other end of the spectrum parents repeatedly represent their children with symptoms that do not require medical attention or are never witnessed by anyone else, eg seizures. This may lead to the child having unwarranted invasive investigations and being place on medications with significant side-effects and having their lifestyle restricted by their "illness". This falls into the spectrum of fabricated/induced illness.

I'm unconvinced that there is evidence of a misogynistic conspiracy to remove children from their parents for adoption. I do think that child protection is taken much more seriously now and that the damage done to children who are in and out of the looked after system and who have repeated placement changes is well known thus there is a move to place children permanently either in adoption or long-term fostering much sooner once it becomes apparent that their biological parents cannot meet their needs. I would also add that adoption and long-term fostering by other biological family members is also encouraged if they can meet their needs.

theUrbanDevil Fri 19-Oct-07 20:35:46

as i mentioned earlier on in this thread, this is far from the first time that this has happened.

as some of you may remember i was personally involved with the case of a lady called Janipher Maseko, who had her 2 week old baby and 14 month old toddler removed from her care. they were apart for 4 weeks, which is about 3 weeks and 5 days longer than they should have been (after it had been established that Janipher was capable of looking after he children - which she was - they should have been returned to her, they weren't). one example of the gross incompetence she faced is that one of the reasons her children took so long to be returned to her was because the SS in question (not sure whether I can name them?) had difficulties finding an infant car seat for her tiny ds. however, when she was later released from detention, SS expected her to make the journey from Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire to Uxbridge in a taxi with no child restraints whatsoever.

FWIW - i do not think there is a sinister agenda here, either in Janipher's or Fran's case. i do, however, think that SS are woefully underfunded and understaffed, not to mention mis-managed in the most basic areas. i do not doubt for a second that the majority of SW's are hard working, conscientious individuals, but as someone further down said, it only takes one old fashioned SW to make life very difficult for a family.

it does not help that often the medical profession wield the threat of SS where there is no justification for it - i myself was threatened with a ward of court (whatever that is) when i was in hospital having ds, because i wished to discharge us. my HV also darkly hinted that SS could be involved if i continued to refuse to top ds up with formula. there was no reason for SS to be involved with me or my family and HCPs who threaten vulnerable people with SS should face disciplinary actions!

La did da I TOTALLY agree with your summation but from what we have heard there is NO precedent in this lady's history to point to this need for IMMEDIATE removal of the child frorm her mother. As FL has been very frank in telling us all her medical/social history why would she leave out relevant parts knowing that she would be found out later by going public? Before an MP takes a case seriously he/she will research it to the best of their ability to prevent egg on their faces.

From all I have read on here any damage done by a MBP parents not immediate & violent but attention -seeking & gradual so therefore if it was being watched for by a team of carers, say in a M &B unit there would be ample time for intervention foir the childs safety (which I think we all agree is paramount)

TUD i agree most SW tems are terribly stretched & over worked. I do not blame them at all but the pen-pushers who run their departments & pile on the paperwork & regulations.

LaDiDaDi Fri 19-Oct-07 20:50:27

Whilst I'm not saying at all that this is happening FL has told us a lot of information about herself. We do not know if there is more, equally vaild and relevant, information about her available to ss etc. This information would never become available publically unless FL wished it to as ss would not be able to reveal it for fear of breaching confidentiality. Equally it would not be available to an MP unless FL wished. No I know that I'm making a big leap here, no such info may exist, but we cannot assume that it doesn't either. Here lies a conundrum in the family courts, what should be made public so that the public can be satisfied that any action taken is for the best interests of the child and when is it in the child's best interests for information about them and their family to remain confidential?

LaDiDaDi Fri 19-Oct-07 20:56:07

I agree re FII that it seems that most cases are subtle and go on for long periods of time before harm is done but this is not necessarily so.

The cases of FII that I know of, and where I believe that is what has happened, have been insidious. Parents have presented repeatedly often making the patient journey from GP to tertiary specialist and representing the child at many different hospitals. Doctors often get quite "duped" for want of a better word as they believe the parents and it is not until someone looks at the case anew, ie someone who has never heard of the case before that the possibility of FII is raised. Doctors who have been involved may feel angry at the suggestion of FII as they are upset that they have been instrumental in the abuse of the child.

wannaBe Fri 19-Oct-07 21:01:05

I think to get involved in this case would be absolute madness.

We do not know the facts. We do not know this woman personally and therefore no-one can vouch for her character or state of mind.

The only information we have about her is the information she has provided on a website, and that which has been written in the media. We don’t know what information she is withholding from those she is trying to gain sympathy/support from.

It is quite possible that social services have other information on her that they are not allowed to divulge publically because of confidentiality.

The issue here is the interests of the child, and currently that child is perceived to be at risk. We do not know why.

But imagine if we went in all guns blazing, wrote to mp’s/started petitions/were quoted in the media as being on Fran’s side/being outraged at the disgrace that is social services handling of this case (and yes, mn is quoted in the media quite frequently), and under pressure, social services decide not to act. What if they were right? What if harm were to come to that baby? Would you be happy to put your name to action that led to that happening? Based on limited facts, and a one-sided view?

I think it’s important not to get carried away with emotional involvement here.

ScummyMummy Fri 19-Oct-07 21:06:50

Social workers and doctors are usually at their most rubbish when they do precisely what some of the posters on this thread have done, imo. Jumping to conclusions with without knowing the full facts and without gathering proper evidence with an open mind is a recipe for disaster. For parents, children and wider society. I completely agree with sophable, mamazon, NoNameToday et al that we just do not have the full facts here. While I concur that the secrecy of the family courts is something that should be carefully examined, that there are some well documented cases where social workers and doctors have performed woefully inadequately with desperately tragic consequences and, especially, that the doctor who referred www to social services sounds like an absolute w**** (though big respect to the social worker who saw immediately that the referral was based on a load of old cobblerswink), I don't think anyone on here has the requisite knowledge of this particular case to give an informed opinion. I'm very impressed with the community care article. Might even renew my subscription.

Wannabe you are SO right ....but equally if Fran is prepared to bare all ( & if not all risk the rest being revealed in public) why does the SS hde behind the "confidentiality " smokescreen?

I strongly feel Frans case is NOT being represented here. If she IS a danger to her child then being that it is all in the public domain anyway why not have the guts to say THIS is the perceived risk, THIS is what we propose to do & THIS is when we shall do it & review it.

Who is losing if they do ? Fran & her baby? Who else is important here?

ScummyMummy Fri 19-Oct-07 21:12:19

Social services aren't allowed to breach confidentiality, bossyb.

But for who's benefit?? If the patient has broken confidentiality/anonimity (as in a rape case) then who are they protecting?

Themselves of course?!!

renaldo Fri 19-Oct-07 21:20:19

And its the babies confidentiality that is being protcectd too

renaldo Fri 19-Oct-07 21:20:40


But she isn't born yet & if she were taken away she would get anonimity/another name/identity so that's no defence!

wannaBe Fri 19-Oct-07 21:25:33

but she does have legal representation bb.
And the confidentiality exists to protect the subject/the baby. If there are facts that are not known to the general public, it is not for social services, or any body to divulge those facts to the public via the media or other means.

This is a very sensitive case. It involves possible abuce to a child. Fran's picture has been in the media, people know who she is, we live in a society where hate crime is not unheard of. I'm fairly sure that if social services were to divulge the rest of the facts of this case, there would be those that would feel it their duty to take matters into their own hands..

fair comment Wannabe- but I still think the case stinks, she hasn't done ANYTHING wrong fgs!

If she had MH issues that were currently dangerous would 2 respected MH charities take her on as an employee??

wannaBe Fri 19-Oct-07 21:32:07

But we don't know the exact reasoning behind this decision. and as I've read it it's a recommendation, not something that has been set in stone, so it's not 100% going to happen.

And I read somewhere that the psychiatrist that vouched for her state of mind hadn't actually seen her for 5 years, so not exactly a recent view either?

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 22:29:57

I am really not impressed with the misinformation being promulgated on this thread by people claiming we don't know the full facts. This isn't a recommendation by the court, this is a ruling by the court that the baby will be taken from Fran Lyon as soon as it is born because they regard that she is at risk of harming it.

I'm also amazed at the short memories of people regarding children who have been put up for adoption based on the evidence of doctors accusing parents of Muchhausens Syndrome by Proxy. Sir Roy Meadow who invented this imaginary "syndrome" has been discredited as an expert witness, which threw into question thousands of cases he had been involved in where children had been taken from their parents and put up for adoption.

The only reason that these cases were not reviewed as they should have been was because according to Margaret Hodge, the minister in charge, it was seen as not in the best interests of the children. So possibly innocent parents had their children removed on the say-so of a dodgy expert witness but now nothing can be done because it is a fait accompli.

How many mistakes have to be made before people start questioning the system? Martin Ward Platt the expert witness in this case and whose recommendations that the child be removed are the ones being followed was an expert witness in both the case of Angela Cannings and that of Trupti Patel, both accused of having MSBP, imprisoned but now exonerated.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 22:37:18

Sally Clark died of a broken heart because of what Roy Meadow accused her of. Has everybody forgotten the one in 72 million chance he conjured up to underline her supposed guilt? It took a member of the Royal College of Statisticians to say he was talking bollocks, not one of his medical colleagues. Has everybody forgotten David Southall, Meadow's MSBP colleague diagnosing Sally Clark's husband as the murderer because he watched a television programme?

Damn I'm angry about this and I'm angry that people are still defending this atrocious system and the doctors who step out of their areas of expertise, paediatrics, to pronounce on the mental health and future actions of people they have never even met.

wannaBe Fri 19-Oct-07 22:41:51

Trupti Patel was found not guilty at trial afaik.

and we do not know all the facts. we only know Fran Lyon's side of the story. we do not know what evidence ss have to back up these recommendations, but two judges have ruled that this baby should be removed at birth, so there must be something to back that up.

And was Martin ward-plat discredited after Angela cannings/the patel case? was he brought before the gmc? because if not you are treading on very dangerous ground by implying that because he was a witness in two cases where 1 proved to be a miscarriage of justice and the other did not secure a conviction he is dodgy.

If he has not publically been discredited and has not been brought to account on any grounds, then I would suggest you have your posts referring to him deleted, because some of your comments about him border on lible.

wannaBe Fri 19-Oct-07 22:43:49

roy meadows has had nothing to do with this case.

you are being ruled by your own emotions here and not by the facts. the facts which we do not know.

3andnogore Fri 19-Oct-07 22:51:22

BTW, there seem to be people here arguing about the term Muenchhausen by proxy , but it seems to be presumably accepted that there are parents that do induce and fabricate illness in children ...not being funny...but it's the same thing without calling it by the "discredited" name....

However....not sure on what grounds this Fran person is accused of this...

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 22:59:42

No wannabe I'm not being led by my emotions. I know the facts and they made me angry. That way round. But it's interesting how often the defenders of this ruling on this thread have reduced themselves to insults; Sophable for example was calling people nuts. Either you have an argument or you don't, but stick to the facts rather than throwing out silly insults.

For example you have obfuscated real facts e.g. the fact that this woman's baby will be taken into care, pretending instead that it is a recommendation.

Roy Meadows was the first paediatrician to step out of his area of expertise and to take it upon himself to diagnose parents, doctors like Martin Ward Platt and David Southall have then followed where he has led. That is the connection. What is your interest in this? Are you a social worker?

3andnogore, child abuse exists, nobody is denying that. However to prove child abuse you need evidence, something these experts like to ignore (or maybe they just can't find any because it doesn't exist) preferring instead to diagnose people who aren't even their patients with imaginary psychiatric illnesses.

xXxamyxXx Fri 19-Oct-07 23:02:33

is a very sensitve issue but surly they could heavily and i mean heavily monitor mum and baby to see if the baby was in harm?rather than take baby away althogh ive only heard one side really

LaDiDaDi Fri 19-Oct-07 23:04:37

I believe that there are parents/carers who harm their childrfen by fabricating or inducing illness in them. I believe this as much as I believe that there are parents who cause significant harm to their children by neglecting them or by abusing them in other ways, eg direct physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse other than through FII. I believe that FII is likely to be very rare but that it does it occur and that if it is considered in the context of a range of behaviour by parents in response to illness in their children then it is less of an outrageous concept than many portray it to be.

chipkid Fri 19-Oct-07 23:04:59

As the baby is as yet unborn there cannot be any proceedings or Orders made allowing the immediate removal of this baby.

the appeal was in all liklihood an application for Judicial Review of the Local Auhtority's decision to reccommend removal at birth.

The fact remains that the Local Auhtority cannot remove this baby at birth until such an action has been sanctioned by the Court either by way of an emergency protection order or an Interim Care Order. Thus some form of judicial approval will have to be given before the LA are entitled to remove this baby.

Elizabetth Fri 19-Oct-07 23:06:54

I missed this:

"And was Martin ward-plat discredited after Angela cannings/the patel case? was he brought before the gmc? because if not you are treading on very dangerous ground by implying that because he was a witness in two cases where 1 proved to be a miscarriage of justice and the other did not secure a conviction he is dodgy.

If he has not publically been discredited and has not been brought to account on any grounds, then I would suggest you have your posts referring to him deleted, because some of your comments about him border on lible."

I haven't implied he's dodgy. I've stated clearly that he has been involved in two cases where the women accused were found innocent one of whom spent a long time in prison. That is not libellous however you try and twist it.

Interesting that you are so committed to your argument that you are willing to accuse people who disagree with you of libel though.

You've got a better memory for these cases than most people do. I have to say I'm surprised you're still defending the system knowing what you know.

chipkid Fri 19-Oct-07 23:08:07

So Elizabetth-it cannot be a fact yet that this baby will be taken into care are no proceedings yet that need to be brought before a Court

chipkid Fri 19-Oct-07 23:11:11

try again---it is NOt a fact that this baby will be taken into care-it is still only a reccommendation. There has to be some form of Court sanction AFTER the baby is born

3andnogore Fri 19-Oct-07 23:20:08

Ladida..I completely agree with you....but to me, it really doesn't matter what the fabricating etc...is called...the label doesn't change a thing, does it!

Elizabeth...by the way...forinstance whilst I believe this Mbp or whatever you want to call it does exist...I am not claiming that this Fran suffers from it, as the Info gotten through media, certainly does not indicate this....

however, yeah tis hard to judge this either way...but still feel sorry for Fran, if this will happen , if she isn't given a chance....

LaDiDaDi Fri 19-Oct-07 23:23:05

I suppose it depends upon how you look upon it. If you call it MSBp then you are implying some sort of psych diagnosis in the carer whereas if you call it FII then it perhaps focuses more on the affected child and doesn't give any reference to a judgement on the mental health of the parent/carer.

Aware that this may sound like a poncy technicality.

3andnogore Fri 19-Oct-07 23:25:55

It still is the same thing...and, tbh...any parent that does it, has some psych probs...one way or another....or are you now talking about the stigma of the title?

ImBarryScott Sat 20-Oct-07 07:26:59

3andnogore - I agree very much with ladidah in that there is a distinction here worth making. the writings on munchausen's syndrome by proxy imply that it is a diagnosable psychiatric condition, of which I am not convinced. However, parents have and do induce injury and illness in their children. that there is some doubt over whether this has psychiatric aetiology does not diminish this.

I take issue with your comment that any parent that harms there child has psychiatric problems. This is not the case. To synonymise the "mad" and the "bad" is IMO offensive to those living with mental illness. When I worked in a medium secure unit (detention facility for mentally disordered offenders) we were called upon to assess a woman who had abuse a child, leading to that child's death, as assumptions were made that any mother who could do such a thing "must" be unwell. a team of psychiatrists could find no evidence of mental disorder (including personality disorder, which we treated at the unit).

WideWebWitch Sat 20-Oct-07 09:29:39

I'm still with Elizabetth on this.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 09:53:27

i think some people are being utterly patronizing and burying their heads in the sand TBH.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 10:26:18

IBS...hm....so, you think one could commit any crime and there is no wrong wiring in anyway? So, some people are simply purely evil wihtout anyhting being wrong with them?
I find that thought really disturbing.
Now, I am, by no means implying that anyone living wiht mental illness would be automatically capable of abuse, etc....
however....surely somehting must trigger people to do something as nasty as inflicting pain on another being...
what I am trying to say, badly, I realise is, that of course mental illness does not mean automatically a person would be capable of doing anyhting wrong/evil ,but that evil acts must be triggered by some wrongful wiring in the brain, etc....possibly through earlier experiences of the abuser or I don't know...truely due to some chemical imbalance causing disturbances...
surely abuse is not just purely down to opportunity?

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 10:30:03

ruty...care to expand a bit....did scroll down the thread and you have not commented at all (or I scrolled past you)...so, trying to work out what your stance here is

mamazon Sat 20-Oct-07 10:33:13

3andnogore - thats exactly it yes. its very frightening thought but there are a large number of people in cat A prisons all over the world with absolutly no mentall illness registered.

there was a lot of research into this and i cannot think who it was by right now (it will bug me into getting into my mums loft to find out though im sure) basicly back in the 90's when there was a lot of research into frontal lobe injury and killer instinct.

it was found that a very high proportion of men that had been convicted of murder had been found to have some form of frontal lobe damage. either from birth or as teh result of an injury later in life.

they had no mental illness at all, but they did have this physical injury.
it was a really interesting study that took place over about 10 years and involved most of teh high profile killers in amercia.

but thats off point.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 10:34:37

i have commented earlier on. smile I do think the medical profession is rife with misogyny, particularly when it comes to women's mental health issue. I do think the SS are badly organised and the courts system is terribly flawed. I do think people are innocent until proven guilty. I do know that if you admit to having PND you are very much dependent on how understanding your GPs and HVs are, and some like wielding power more than others. I find the whole system deeply flawed and against women. Hope that is clear! smile

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 10:42:17

i'll just add a personal experience. After a very traumatic birth experience, and then an emergency c section, and then a horrible midwife who took my baby away without my consent and fed him, again without my consent, within an hour of giving birth, I was left feeling very traumatized and started getting terrible nightmares about something bad happening to my son. I eventually went to see and NHS [female] counsellor, who told me my nightmares were submerged thoughts of not wanting my baby, or wanting something bad to happen to him. I cannot express to you how that made me feel. I had gone to her for support and then felt like i was a terrible mother. Luckily i was able to see another counsellor who is also a psychologist at a top hospital and she totally pooh poohed this other counsellor's ideas. With her help and support i was able to recover and stop having nightmares. It just shows you how different personalities inthe medical profession can have such a dramatic influence on their patients, for better or worse.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 10:43:33

Clear as day
And sadly I don't think one can even disagree with it...the system is not working and well, as everywhere else, SS has to safe at the wrong end...just as the NHS....always to many chiefs and not enough indians

mamazon...but if a physical braininjury impairs on the way the brain works and changes the persons actions,there must be something you can class it as?
Hm...I do know what I mean, but am all confuzzled....

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 10:48:22

ruty, problem with councellors is...well...it's not a really regulated profession, is it...and anyone can do a 2 year councelling college course and they are a councellor...however, without true background knowledge of human psychology, I would think it boils down to "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing"!
I really think only psychologist should be able to become councellors, or at least the person becoming a councellor has to show an extensive knowledge of psychology....

Btw...really sorry about your terrible experience...have had a similar one with my youngest child and it takes so long to overcome, and whilst you are in that bad place it's so hard to cope and there is so muhc guilt within us making us feel even more inadequat....

mamazon Sat 20-Oct-07 10:48:29

teh study was fascinating but i dont think it is widely accepted.

i think that if you were a very rich person with a pretty fantastic lawyer you could maybe get brain scans and prove you were not to blame for killing someone as it was a physicla impairment....but im not sure.

it was totally off topic..it just reminded me of teh study which was very intersting. sorry to cloud the waters lol

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 10:50:10

mamazon it was interesting...but then I really do believe that something must be very wrong with any person to be able to do anything morally very wrong, like killing, abusing, etc.....

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 11:08:49

Thanks 3andnogore, it was awful.And this woman was a counsellor on the NHS, which made it worse, she was in the system, IYKWIM. She left me with the most terrible feeling of betrayal, as i had felt betrayed by the midwife before her. I am lucky i was able to go to someone else, someone with much more experience and training, and someone just with more compassion and common sense, IMO. Personalities vary so widely and have such a huge effect - that is my concern.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 11:17:01

absolutely ruty....but glad you were able to find someone that was able to help you!

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 11:44:02

I think it's possible to be "bad" and not "mad" iyswim, ie to have no underlying mental illness but to still committ appalling crimes.

I think that our experiences shape our future actions and sense of right and wrong but people who have had negative experiences or who's lives have shaped them to be capable of doing very terrible things are not necessarily mentally ill.
Frontal lobe damage is an interesting idea, we know that the frontal lobe controls some of our higher reasoning functions, our ability to make appropriate decisions and be sociable creatures. Patients who have frontal lobe tumours or other damage in adulthood can have massive personality changes that can be quite frightening. I'm not convinced that it accounts for the "bad" in all of those who commit terrible crimes and aren't "mad" though.

Sorry to cause thread to drift even further off topic though.

Also sorry to hear of your awful experiences ruty. Did you feel able to complain about your delivery or your counsellor?

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 11:57:29

mentally ill maybe not, but disturbed surely...hm...

trying to cling to my naive outlook...desperately....

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 12:01:31

Just wondering if anyone else has read the book Sickened by Julie Gregory

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 12:08:25

I haven't read it though I know that it's been a best seller.

I somehow feel a bit uneasy reading childhood abuse memoirs though I'm not sure why that should be, especially if the author feels that writing about their experiences has been helpful or catharic in some way.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 12:33:17
singingmum Sat 20-Oct-07 13:21:18

This scares the hell out of me.
My cousin is fighting SS right now as her latest SW has decided to make a case against her on rather ridiculous grounds.My cousins twins were put on reg while she was PG as her then partner was brought up in care.This was the reason they gave orig.They placed them in a hostel to wait for a home during this time the man who was supposed to run things reported my cousin as unable to cook or clean.This was not only untrue but was caused and said after she refused him entry into the room while alone.He tried repeatedly to get her alone and he scared her.When she told her SW she told her not to be so silly!Her partener became unstable the more SS got involved as they kept saying some horrendous things.He became violent and they gave my cousin a choice him or dc's she chose her dc's no contest.The twins were prem which has meant that they are prone to catching colds etc but in general they are healthy,happy dc's who are well looked after.
The last SW she had said that once she was settled in her new home then the dc's would be able to come of the reg.This hasn't happened as she got a new SW who has made life hell for her.
The new SW has no dc's and in fact(and this is shocking)isn't keen on dc's in general.
She has to date made my cousin do such things as take a draw that was at ground level out of a unit because the dc's might hurt themselves(they used it as a boat).She has told my cousin that she believes that the dc's are scared of her because when they are told to go to time out(she uses the 1 warning and if you do it again you go in the corner method)they go and sit there for 2 mins(their age).She said that my cousin doesn't care for them emotionally as they sometimes cry when friends or rels leave.My dc's both did this as couldn't understand why people they liked couldn't live with us.
She is now saying that as my cousin has been in abusive relationship's she puts the dc's in danger(she has got rid of her bf as he hurt her)
She is being in my eyes punished for having bad luck with men.
The woman stands there and tells her this stuff and then follows it up by telling her to allow the dc's dad who once tried to set them on fire to have contact unsupervised also advising the father to go for custody in the event that she gets her way and the dc's are removed from my cousin.She has recently forced my cousin back into a house which is near both ex's and has even been broken into.My cousin tried to refuse and asked to move closer to myself so that she could have some better family support and get away from these men.The SW told her that if she did not return within a week then she was putting the dc's into emergency care.
I have now discovered that the SS where she lives have a terrible rep within the ranks of SS and are well known for trying to remove children where other SW's wouldn't.

It's time SS were honest and open about what they are doing and came out from behind the veil of secrecy that allows them to act badly for the sake of those dc's who need to be removed from their parents for real reasons and so that those SW's who are honest and damn good at their jobs can finally do so

singingmum Sat 20-Oct-07 13:22:49

Sorry for length of post but I feel quite strongly on this issue

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 14:26:29

This is the article where it all started where Meadow first invented the term Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Read here how a mother was accused of causing her child's illness. Read also how Meadow and his medical staff dosed the toddler in question with 20g (that's a little less than an ounce) of salt to work out how the mother was causing the illnesses.

I'm not sure what medical ethics he was operating under but if a mother was found to be giving that much salt to an infant, the child would probably be removed from her immediately. On the other hand if a doctor does it he can write it up in the Lancet as medical research.


"We did not know how she persuaded her toddler to ingest such large quantities of salt (20 g of sodium chloride given with difficulty by us raised the serum-sodium to 147 mmol/l only)."

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 14:30:16

Thanks for that link 3andnogore, the "symptoms" of the syndrome outlined there show just what shaky ground these paediatricians are on when making their so-called diagnosis -

" * a child who has multiple medical problems that don't respond to treatment or that follow a persistent and puzzling course

* physical or laboratory findings that are highly unusual, don't correspond with the child's medical history, or are physically or clinically impossible

* short-term symptoms that tend to stop when the perpetrator isn't around

* a parent or caregiver who isn't reassured by "good news" when test results find no medical problems, but continues to believe that the child is ill

* a parent or caregiver who appears to be medically knowledgeable or fascinated with medical details or appears to enjoy the hospital environment

* a parent or caregiver who's unusually calm in the face of serious difficulties with the child's health

* a parent or caregiver who's highly supportive and encouraging of the doctor, or one who is angry and demands further intervention, more procedures, second opinions, or transfers to more sophisticated facilities"

Those so-called symptoms read like a concerned parent reacting in the face of doctors unable to make a diagnosis. Great for the doctors that rather than admitting there are limits to their skills they can simply blame the parents.

singingmum Sat 20-Oct-07 14:34:53

I do think that a condition such as that can exist.My SIL was happy to discover that her dd was going to have speech therapy like her.The child only needs speech therapy because she neglected dd .It's become the same with other probs my niece has.
However I also think that they need a lot more proof of a parent causing purposeful harm against a child than they are concerned that doc's aren't doing job properly.Doc's hate to admit when they are wrong

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 14:36:23

Evolution of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy as a Diagnosis

Munchausen syndrome by proxy derives from adult Munchausen syndrome, which was first described in the literature in 1951 by Asher. In adult Munchausen syndrome, the patient fabricates and/or induces his own symptoms and presents himself for treatment. The description of Munchausen syndrome by proxy was first made in 1977, after British pediatrician Roy Meadow recognized that mothers of two children in his practice were engaging in dissimulations that put their children in the patient role, using the children as proxies. Subsequently, Meadow has collected and presented a number of cases, noting from the outset that is was often the doctors who harmed the child most through their unnecessary tests and treatments.

WideWebWitch Sat 20-Oct-07 14:37:04

slight hijack <<Elizabetth, are you L with ds H and dd C(F)? Apols if I've got that wrong, just wondered >>

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 14:43:30

It was this particular part of that qoute which I thought relevent.

Meadow has collected and presented a number of cases, noting from the outset that is was often the doctors who harmed the child most through their unnecessary tests and treatments.

The man may have made mistakes in his career, but he was not averse to pointing out the failing of his contemapries.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 14:48:05

So which tchie genius on mumsnet is going to incorporate spell check to prevent my boobs

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 15:02:10

No I'm not WWW. I actually don't have any interest in this apart from the fact that I read up on what people like Meadow and David Southall were doing and was completely shocked.

I can't believe anyone would still defend Meadow after what his 1 in 72 million evidence did to Sally Clark and also the story about him and his staff dosing a toddler with large amounts of salt. It's hair-raising.

As the sister of an MH patient I just find it intolerable in todays society that we should be contemplating this. Whatever the story behind Frans history & whether or not she is currently needing MH intervention she has the RIGHT to be a mother to her child just as Molly has the RIGHT to have her mother looking after her. Why are there so many cases where there is a PROVEN violent history yet on balance the family is kept together for the good of the children(a difficult call for the SS)yet this child is deemed at so great a risk that she has to be whisked away at BIRTH? She may or may not have MBP but all these cases quote have been happening over a period of time NOT within hours of birth.

Sorry for the shouting, (it's a case close to my heart!) but this is the basic arguement here & we need to remember that

Can I ask you all to read this posted by a colleague of Frans?

"The more I read about this story the more angry and more scared I get.
I work with Fran, I have a huge amount of respect for her as a colleague, a friend and just plain as a human being. It really scares me that someone as together as her who has overcome so much can be
targeted in this way. And it scares me on a personal level as well.
What does this mean for any of us who have a mental health problem
either now or in the past?

I have the same diagnosis as Fran was given and has recovered from.
Sometimes I am fine and sometimes, yes, I am a bit loopy. But I make as much effort as I possibly can to be responsible for myself and my condition and ask for help when I need it. I have worked to develop
strategies to deal with it, as would anyone with a chronic illness.

I also have good highers, a degree and a diploma, a teaching qualification, several years experience teaching, including with
teenagers. I have worked for various mental health charities including advice and support work and have even been a trusted babysitter from a young age, if that counts for anything. I am a contributing member of
society, I don't have a criminal record, and yet the second 'mental health problems' are mentioned this all seems to go out the window.

I know Fran's case is an unfortunate and exceptional one - I'm being
very polite here - but what kind of precendent does it set for the
rest of us? How can any professional think they are doing the right
thing in acting this way?

It terrifies me, especially now that I am in a stable relationship, that if I one day decided to have children, my partner and I might have to go through something like this. This questioning of us
fundamentally as people, because of an ILLNESS that I neither want nor
appreciate, that is not my fault, but I cannot make go away.

It just makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry, but it does make
me realise that we have to stand up and be counted in these situations, even if they're not directly related to us. Because if
someone, however small and insignificant doesn't - then who will? "


Makes me want to weep.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 15:21:11

Elizabetth, I do not wish to appear confrontational, I think arguements for both sides in any situation are good, but you do not seem to be in any way open to anothers opinion if it disagrees with yours.

You have said that you that you have no interest apart from reading and being shocked at what you read.

Perhaps you would be more shocked if you had had to care for a dying baby, dying because the parents didn't care enough!

And yes, I have been there.

Perfect is a word in the dictionary.

Life can be horrendous.

Meadows may not have been totally correct, he may have been totally flawed in his judgement and so may others, but people do try to prevent tragedies.

I don't know what you are doing to better the situation apart from reading and posting.I'll be interested to know if you have a strategy to help others in this situation.

I hope that Fran's situation is resolved to the best for her and her baby,.

It may however be that none of us here will agree with the result.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 15:48:19

NoNameToday, I could equally say the same thing of you - that you do not seem to be in any way open to another's opinion if it disagrees with yours. We could say that about anybody basically who is voicing an opinion. It's a stupid accusation.

As for me having no interest in this what I mean is that I am not directly involved either as an accused parent or even a friend of an accused parent, or as a doctor who supports the diagnosis or as a social worker. In this instance I'm a disinterested observer who is shocked when I have read the background information about Meadow and Southall and what has been done to parents and children.

To twist that into saying that I have no interest apart from being shocked is either dishonest on your part or extremely poor reading of what I said. You decide.

Rather than flinging out accusations at me perhaps you'd like to address the so-called symptoms that Meadow came up with and also the story of him and his medical staff dosing a child with salt.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 15:50:49

NoName i think the correlation you make is nonsensical, sorry. Of course anyone here would be outraged if a child was suffering because of neglect, because 'the parents didn't care enough.' I think a lot of the frustration here comes from hearing about other cases where [rather often fathers] and mothers have harmed their children and the SS have not intervened despite frequent warning signs. However, this Munchausen's by Proxy diagnosis is extremely dangerous. It is not even proven as a real pyschological affliction as yet. It reminds me of Freud diagnosing women as 'hysterical'. It depends very much on a subjective perspective which varies from the personality of each doctor. If it does exist, I think it is probably extremely very rare indeed. It is also dangerous in many other ways. For example, if a child has a inexplicable and recurring illness, it seems as if the mother may have the finger pointed at her, now this syndrome has been discovered/invented. If the mother has any history of mental health problems, then god help her.
A mother may be overly anxious about her child's health, for various reasons, because of trauma at birth or PND or a number of things. She may be a bit of a hypochondriac herself, and go to the doctor with lumps [imagined or otherwise] here or there, and try the doctor's patience. Now, the mother may need some sort of help, but a mother who is overly anxious/hypochondriac is very different from a mother who is deliberately harming her child. I worry that doctors and SS cannot always see the difference. I do not think that medical practitioners really know what they are dealing with here, as M by P is a sort of umbrella term that can be used for a number of concerns, as it seems to me, is being done in Fran's case. I really don't think the SS or the medical profession have a clue about what they are dealing with here.

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 15:53:47

Elizabetth, I have no doubt that Meadows acted dubiously in some circumstances and the ethics of his actions can at times be seriously questioned.

I do however think that FII exists and that he did something useful in highlighting it's existence. I'm interested to know if you believe in FII at all and if not why not? Also if you do believe in it, or perhaps you could still consider it hypothetically if you don't, how do you think it should be recognised, eg after what signs and symptoms do you think doctors should consider the possibility of FII and how should they then act to protect the child?

These questions are not meant to reflect your views on the FL case particularly but on FII in a much wider context.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 16:41:53

Elizabetth, I was quoting your own words

No I'm not WWW. I actually don't have any interest in this apart from the fact that I read up on what people like Meadow and David Southall were doing and was completely shocked.

I did not put an interpretation upon your statement, it is as it was written.

I repeat what I said earlier, no one on here knows the true facts of Fran's situation, which is what this thread is about.

I have in no way suggested that she is right or wrong, I do not know.

Please do not accuse me of flinging out accusations, that would be on a par with what is happening all around.

I admire your support for Fran and others in this area and I neither agree or disagree because I don't know the facts.

I do know the harm that can be caused to children and have been professionally involved with cause for concern issues, protection orders and other terrible situations, terrible for mothers, babies and the professionals involved.

The point I did try to make earlier regarding Meadows was alluding to doctors harming the child most!

Meadow has collected and presented a number of cases, noting from the outset that is was often the doctors who harmed the child most through their unnecessary tests and treatments.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 16:49:53

Buyt Elisabeth, no one is saying that any of those symptoms (standing on their own) would be a reason to accuse anyone...it's just if many of those come together and another one may also be constant Doctor change (which is why it used to be easy ish to hide, I believe...but probably wouldn't work as well now)and there really isn't anything wrong, or the parent/carer has been seen giving their child somehting, etc....surely such thing can't be ignored...

as I say, I really have no opinion if Fran would be a danger or not, as I really do not know enough....however...it's going a bit far to completely dispute the possibility of this happening in other families....whatever you name it, when it happens the child is in danger and then action needs to be taken...simple as....but this is more my general line of thinking, nothing to do wiht this particular "case"

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 16:52:06

Actually, I don't think anyone really here has passed judgement on Fran herself, if anyhting accusations were flung at the professionals involved....
sure that shouldn't mean people can't discuss even the pure existence of the syndrom the person is accused of being in danger of having...etc....

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 16:52:10

ruty you are of course entitled to your opinion but I would like to think you had looked more closely at my postings.

I have not neen accusational, confrontational or anything other than reasonable in a discussion where none of us know the full details.

We all look at a situation and cannot remove our feelings totally. Our experiences make us what we are.

It is right and proper that people question and indeed 'fight' for things.

If I in this situation I had to choose a side to fight for, it would be for the rights of the unborn child. I am not involved and can only hope that there is a good outcome for mother and baby.

Can we all just agree we have our own points of view, each relevant but not always agreed by all posters? grin

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 16:57:30

No you were twisting them unless you really don't understand the concept of declaring an interest.

Could you provide some sources for these cases where Meadow has testified against fellow doctors, because I've only heard of where he has been involved in testifying against parents. Has he published any papers on iatrogenic (doctor-caused) disease? Certainly he gained his fame and fortune through the MSBP diagnosis and was an expert in hundreds if not thousands of cases.

LaDida, I think child abuse exists, so doctors and social workers should follow the same procedures they do in any cases of suspected child abuse. However you'll see the list up there for suspecting a case of MSBP is subjective and fuzzy to say the least. I don't think it could be called scientific by any stretch of the imagination.

I would very much like to hear from you LaDida, you NoNameToday and anybody else who is defending the MSBP diagnosis to comment on Roy Meadow and his medical colleauges giving a toddler 20g of salt. People seem to be ignoring that for some reason, despite the fact that we have his own admission that it was done in a published medical paper no less.

One other thing, we see that healthy babies from middle class families are taken from their parents whereas neglected babies who might be hard to place for adoption are allowed to remain with their parents. It's not too much of a stretch to think that social workers will be unwilling to take these hard to place children because once again it will affect the targets for adoption they have been set.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 17:03:12

Hope this works elizabetth


Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:06:38

It didn't work NoNameToday even when I pasted it into my browser. Could you quote part of the relevant text like I did with Roy Meadow's first article on MSBP.

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 17:09:53

Comment already made Elizabetth, see my earlier post: "Elizabetth, I have no doubt that Meadows acted dubiously in some circumstances and the ethics of his actions can at times be seriously questioned."

The list of symptoms/signs/reasons to consider FII as a possibilty are, as a whole, unscientific. I agree. However clearly there are some elements of science, eg test results that are felt to be phsiologically impossible and in addition there are some elements of art, eg considering that if a carer is not present or is observed constantly then symptoms in the child do not occur. Science and art combine in most of medicine.

You still haven't really answered my question about whether or not you believe in the existence of FII and if so when you think it should be considered ie if the criteria already put forward here aren't, as a whole, sufficient, then what would be? How do you think it could be scientifically proven?

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 17:11:30

Elizabetth, I'm also interested in your evidence for the assertion that healthy babies from middle-class families are being removed for adoption?

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 17:12:33

IT is not my forte elizabetth, this is part of it

Evolution of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy as a Diagnosis

Munchausen syndrome by proxy derives from adult Munchausen syndrome, which was first described in the literature in 1951 by Asher. In adult Munchausen syndrome, the patient fabricates and/or induces his own symptoms and presents himself for treatment. The description of Munchausen syndrome by proxy was first made in 1977, after British pediatrician Roy Meadow recognized that mothers of two children in his practice were engaging in dissimulations that put their children in the patient role, using the children as proxies. Subsequently, Meadow has collected and presented a number of cases, noting from the outset that is was often the doctors who harmed the child most through their unnecessary tests and treatments.

Originally, Meadow observed the mother of the child as perpetrator and the child as a simple victim, stating in 1982 that only children up to age six were used as proxies because a child older than that would likely reveal the deception. After two more years of study, however, he reported in 1984 that an older child could act as a confederate of the mother, with the two involved in a sort of folie â deux, a pattern that might be perpetuated even after the child reached adulthood. Thus, Meadow began to describe the complex psychological nature of MSP.

Today, our understanding of the perpetrator role has expanded as well. For example, MSP has been found to be practiced with children not the perpetrator's own (Elkind, 1983; United States vs. Woods, 1973). Sigal, Carmel, AItmark, and Silfen (1988) described a male perpetrator abusing two female adults, while Sinanan and Haughton (1986) cited the bizarre case of a female perpetrator who manipulated nurses and their families into the proxy role, seeing to it that they received about 100 unnecessary injections, from which one of the nurses became very ill.

Sorry to other folks if this clogs up the board a bit!

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:15:24

I'll answer that in the negative LaDiDaDi, it can't be scientifically proven by the methods or symptoms that were outlined in that article. They are unscientific in the extreme.

Anyway I'm not making any claims for FII, you are doing that, so perhaps you'd like to say how you think it can be scientifically proven.

Do you have an interest in this by the way or are you a lay observer like me?

"Science and art combine in most of medicine."

Actually Western medicine is mostly based on science, which is why in the past 50 or 60 years it has been effective.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:23:02

What you've quoted there doesn't support your claims nonametoday - you said Meadow had testified against doctors. Once again I'd like to see some proof of that because I don't actually think it is true.

Also that site you linked to is well, let me put this politely, a little controversial. It's run by Dr Ralph Underwager. If you google his name and Padika you'll see why.

LaDiDaDi I have to admit I'm going on hearsay about middle class parents having their children taken. It's certainly the view of people in the know about the Family Courts. However the draconian secrecy that surround them means that there aren't any figures, however it's hard not to notice a woman being threatened with her child being taken away from her when she has done nothing wrong compared to a little baby who was visited countless times by social workers but left to die.

Also I'd like to hear a more specific comment from you on Roy Meadow dosing a toddler with salt. More at least than "he acted dubiously at some times". If a doctor is treating his child patients like this can we really trust him to be any kind of a judge of parents and carers?

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 17:31:14

I'm arguing that I don't think it can be scientifically proven if you mean to say a specific test will prove it in every case.

I think that a collection of the signs/symptoms present can lead it to be considered as a possibility. Then, depending upon the individual child, some further evidence to refute or support the possibility can be obtained, either by some scientific investigation or by observation of what happens if the child is removed form the carer giver thought to be responsible or observed constantly when with them. In either case I mean the child being placed within a hospital setting rather than removed as in foster care/local authority care. The summation of this may provide evidence sufficient to support the diagnosis of FII which in turn may lead the local authority to act to remove the child from the care of the individual responsible.

In medicine science often helps us to make a diagnosis but actually there is an art to considering the right diagnosis in the first place. You can do all the tests in the world but you don't know why you are doing them then you are unlikely to get very far in helping a patient.

I am not a lay person but a medical professional interested in how the lay public perceive child protection issues.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 17:31:54

This thread seems to have been taken over by FII.

In an earier post I mentioned that factors other than the mothers mental health may have a bearing on the decision to take a child into care.

In Fran's situation it may be her abusive father, maybe a colluding mother, or the abusive ex partner/putative father who have contributed to the deciscion in this case.

*We don't know* and that is why it is so sad that people are so ready to fight and I use the word loosely for someone elses cause without being in posession of the relevant details.

NoNameToday Sat 20-Oct-07 17:35:32

I think you need to scrutinise my posts more closely elizabetth.

Nowhere did I use the word testified..

By all means continue this if you are prepared to be fair to all concerned, but, I don't believe you are, therefore I will leave it here.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:35:39

My mistake, you said he said that doctors had harmed the children most, not that he testified against them.

I don't really see how that lets him off the hook for his discredited syndrome. For example Angela and Ian Gay were convicted of manslaughter because they had allegedly poisoned a chid in their care with salt. The prosecution was based in part on Roy Meadow's theories.

It turned out later that the child had had "salt diabetes" and his body was unable to regulate sodium levels in his blood.

This kind of case is what happens when the authorities listen to unscientific theories that are based on subjective viewpoints instead of actually examining the evidence and the science behind it.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:38:54

Have you been involved in MSBP cases LaDiDaDi?

I'd ask the same question of nonametoday.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 17:41:20

Oh and I'll just repeat my question as you've once again avoided answering it LaDiDaDi -

"Also I'd like to hear a more specific comment from you on Roy Meadow dosing a toddler with salt. More at least than "he acted dubiously at some times". If a doctor is treating his child patients like this can we really trust him to be any kind of a judge of parents and carers?"

lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 18:02:24

its a very sad case indeed
I think, reading between the lines the personaility disorder might also paly a part. I dont want to go into too much info but having worked on cases where Personiality disorder is involved a lot of doctors have strong views on their ability to parent.


lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 18:07:35

My undestanding of MBP hasnt been disproven but has been renamed "fabricated induced illness".

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 18:57:59

eh? I have not been accusational or confrontational either. Neither have i accused you of being, NoName. I simply said I thought the correlation you made, between some of us feeling doubtful about the justice of this case, and us not being as aware of child abuse [in very simple terms of neglect from parents who don't care enough] as you are, was nonsensical. It is. sorry if you find that insulting. smile

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 19:09:18

I've not personally been involved in any cases of FII, as I'll continue to refer to this as.

If you're asking me to libel Roy Meadows then I won't. I think that he has made mistakes in his work. That does not mean that everything that he has done should be disregarded.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 19:38:31

And of course everyone thinks the rights of the unborn child are the most important. It is just that some of us think the rights of the unborn child to have its own mother care for it/ breastfeed, etc, are very important. I do not know the ins and outs of this case. From what i can decipher from the psychologist reports Fran should at least have a chance to prove herself as a mother under careful supervision. And i find it worrying that a paediatrician who has never met her and knows little about pyschiatric conditions seemed to have the final say. that is all.

olala Sat 20-Oct-07 19:49:10

at risk of everyone hating me - I totally agree with pre emptive action in cases where there are a strong and reasonable suspicion that the children will come to harm if left with the mother. In my opinion and experience, it does not happen enough and too many children experience awful things at the hnads of their parents, that are entirely predctable just from meeting their parents for 2 minutes, and yet social services do nothing. I don't know the facts of this case - maybe it is really wrong here, but just speaking in general terms - children are so vulnerable.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 19:58:42

"If you're asking me to libel Roy Meadows then I won't."

No I'm asking you to give your opinion. The facts are already there about the salt fed to the toddler. He himself published them.

Why do the MSBP defenders keep bringing up libel? I'm not asking you to call him names, I'm asking you to comment on his actions.

What in Meadow's work do you think is worth preserving? Why do you think an accusation of child abuse needs to be elaborated with a diagnosis of MSBP or FII of the caregiver (usually the mother)? Why is an accusation of child abuse with evidence to support it not enough in your opinion?

LaDiDaDi Sat 20-Oct-07 20:17:29

Aaargh! I really think that we are just going round and round in circles.

I believe that FII exists. I believe that highlighting it's existence was a good thing. How this was done and how other professionals may have dealt with individual cases may leave a lot to be desired. I do not know the full details of the case in which Meadows fed a toddler salt though if it is as you describe then I think he took action which is ethically questionable.

I think that the descriptive term of FII is in itself useful. The carer may not have themselves physically harmed the child in anyway instead using others to harm the child by unnecessary medical procedures. So to simply say that the carer has physically abused the child would be inaccurate. They may appear to be loving and have a good relationship with the child but if the child is given the constant message that they are ill when they are well then they are being emotionally abused even though they may respond to the carer normally, or at least in the way that an ill child would respond to their carer.

FII is not intended to be a term used to give a diagnosis to the abuser but to be a category of child abuse that is relevant to the child.

lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 20:38:52

I have known of a few FII cases in my work, but none that I have worked on. It is very real and is a mental illness which is hard to prove/detect. The parents or carers that do this do not have a huge sign on their heads saying what they are doing, they dont want to be found out.
Its intresting that people are commenting about SS not acting in cases and then when they try to do a preventive measures rather than reactive they get slated!
I think you would really need to know all the facts about this case before we could judge.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 21:08:38

i think it is the specific preventative measure of taking the child at birth, when Fran has offered to be closely observed for as long as it takes, and the fact that the psychologists have stated she has not suffered from mental health issues for a good few years, which people object to. I can see that in a situation where a parent is convinced a well child is ill and insists on invasive medical procedures, that intervention is necessary - I am not sure that taking the child away immediately would be the answer there either though, of the parent was not deliberately harming the child. the child would need placing on the at risk register, and the parent would need psychiatric help, and close monitoring, but just whisking a child away and putting them into a potentially even more problematic system of fostering/homes, a system in which many children fare badly, may not be the right solution. I know a police man who often has had to intervene in violent relationships and witness alcoholic/drugged parents in charge of children. Those children have to suffer at the hands of their parents all the time. There just seems to be a very strange hypocrisy going on though yes there may be more details to this case we don't know about. It is worth being concerned about though.

ruty Sat 20-Oct-07 21:09:13

if the parent was not deliberately harming the child...

lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 21:21:13

I know mental illness is hard to understand but have worked with a girl with personality disorder and it really does have a profund effect on someones ability to parent, and there is no cure and its not safe to risk returning children to those parents

I know the lady involved has agreed to go to a mum and baby unit, and think it is a fair ask to be honest. I think it would be hard to "fake" good parenting 24 hurs a day and we do have a unt like that which is used and parents often manage to "fake" for the first week or so, but never very long. I guess the question is would it be fair on that child to risk that given the evidence they already have. I am only guessing on some of this as i dont know loads about this woman.

lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 21:25:01

ruty, but the child is harming the child if they are convienced that child is unwell. FII is very dangerous, some might not physically harm the child themselves but are putting that child though emotional abuse and medical processes that are not needed that can be dangerous. Sad but true

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 21:27:56

ruty, a parent that does this mbp thing can not be compared to a parent that , maybe once, thought there was somehting wrong with teh child and wanted it tested further out....someone who does this does it all the time, they don't do it because they are really worried about the child, they know darn well there isn't anything wrong and if there is it is down to their own action...we are not talking about loving caring parents here....
honest, you might want to read the book I earlier mentioned....it really has got some valuable info in it.

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 21:39:22

LaDiDaDi, if you haven't been involved in cases of MSBP/FII where does your expertise come from? You appear to be speaking as an authority on this.

"It is very real and is a mental illness which is hard to prove/detect."

Funny how LaDiDaDi contradicts you saying that this isn't a diagnosis of the parents yet there you are calling it a mental illness. I take it you don't mean that the child is mentally ill. You don't have to detect someone's mental illness as a medical professional or social worker your job is to detect if the child is being abused. Why do you need to detect a mental illness in someone who isn't your patient?

Elizabetth Sat 20-Oct-07 21:42:25

How many social workers/healthcare professionals are posting here? It's very odd that so many would arrive on this one particular thread. I didn't think social work or the medical profession was overrepresented at Mumsnet although you'd think so from the number of people in those professions taking an interest here (to support the MSBP/FII diagnosis and to gloss over the nefarious behaviour of its progenitors).

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 22:02:19

Elisabeth...but if a child is being abused, doesn't it then also become rather important, aswell, to find out why the child is abused, what drives teh abuser, etc....surely that is important information to know? Part of the whole assesment.

3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 22:06:39

Btw...that was just another general statement/question...not really about the op per se....

lisad123 Sat 20-Oct-07 22:13:20

there is a few sw on here and docs. The reasons Social worker would know about parents illness is that you dont just work with children, you work with families. I also know a little about it ( and i mean a little) is that child protection is a multi agency thing.

This is all very interesting as an academic exercise ladies but doesn't further the cause of Fran & Molly which we were originally discussing!


3andnogore Sat 20-Oct-07 23:39:07

bossy...seeing that non of us have the real facts, etc...what are we menat to do?
It could only ever be a discussion, etc....
as sorry as I feel, and as horrible as it would be if the child would be removed if there really wasn't any danger, etc...but without really knowing the facts, tehre really sin't anything we could do....

smallwhitecat Sat 20-Oct-07 23:45:17

Message withdrawn

3 and.. exactly I feel so helpless for this lady!!

All the debate in the world...........

whether she is capable of looking after her baby long term or not..................

I just keep thinking of that first few moments when we all held our babies & thought "wow" look what I did !!!"

.........and I know that I wouldn't deprive ANY woman mentally OR physically ill from that moment & those first few hours/days thereafter.

Excuse me from being a soppy date but that's the bottom line as far ar I go so I shall
bow out of this arguement with that!

LaDiDaDi Sun 21-Oct-07 00:02:32

FII is not a diagnosis of the parent's mental health state. It is a descrption/category of abuse suffered by the child at the hands of a parent/carer who may well have a mental illness. I don't think that is too hard to follow.

Elizabetth, from your posts it seems clear that you doubt the very existence of FII. I'm not trying to speak as an authority on it, I certainly am not, but I am trying to put across my own view which has been formed from the child protection training that I have had and the experiences of clinicians who I personally know and trust and before you ask I have never met Roy Meadows and have no particular desire to! I notice that your earlier assertions about the adoption of middle class children to meet targets was based upon hearsay. I'm not sure that you are any better informed about the other areas that you are discussing.

I think that we are all in agreement on this thread that we want the best for FRan's unborn child. Without the full facts of the case we cannot know if any putative descisions made by ss are in the best interests of the child and actually even if we did all know all that there is to know about this case we would not necessarily arrive at the same conclusion. I'm not convinced that ss are doing the right thing in FL's case, but I don't know that they are not.

I've quite enjoyed this debate but unless new ground is covered I probably won't come back to it smile.

Elizabetth Sun 21-Oct-07 00:45:26

LaDiDaDi, MSBP/FII is a diagnosis of the parents. It's simply ridiculous to try and pretend otherwise. The "symptoms" are in the main subjective examinations of the parent's behaviour and attitudes not of the child itself. The diagnosis is then applied to the parent.

I believe that child abuse exists, I don't believe that paediatricians and social workers are qualified to make a psychiatric diagnosis about someone who isn't even their patient. That should be left up to an appropriately qualified person. The danger is that they apply a label to a parent which is then almost possible for the parent to escape. Rather than looking for actual evidence of abuse the "experts" rely on the label to base their decisions on.

Bossybritches says we have gone off topic, but the point is that what is being done to Fran Lyon is part of a much wider systemic failure that involves paediatricians who overreach their areas of expertise, social workers who blindly listen to them and family courts that are being corrupted because of the secrecy they are allowed to operate under. The targets for adoption that social workers strive to meet (a threefold increase in adoptions in the past few years) merely adds to the problem.

I'm as well-informed as most on this subject and probably better informed than quite a few. If you have evidence or facts that contradict what I have said here, then present it. The thing is the facts support my argument not yours.

Well done Elizabeth- you have made MANY salient points, just can't keep up !! grin

Elizabetth Sun 21-Oct-07 00:49:43

If what I'm saying here is getting in the way of helping Fran and Molly however, I'll gladly cease this particular part of the discussion.

No Elizabeth- anything that keeps the case in the public eye must be good I would think?

Whichever way it goes the fact that the case is under scrutiny must help keep all parties on their toes.

ImBarryScott Sun 21-Oct-07 07:49:55

elizabethh - with reference to your post of on Sat 20-Oct-07 21:42:25

the sws posting on here, myself included, have done so to shed some light on how child protection systems work, as requested by other posters.

given that no-one seems interested, and takes my posts as "nefarious" defence of the diagnosis of Munchausen's syndrome by proxy, I won't bother you all on this thread again.

<trots off to Style/food threads where, strangley, people feel more comfortable about the presence of a Social Worker>

chipkid Sun 21-Oct-07 09:07:25

elizabetth you speak of the family court system as some form of authority-what experience do you have of the family court system other than that you have gleaned from the popular press?

WideWebWitch Sun 21-Oct-07 09:10:30

Good posts Elizabetth, please don't stop posting on this thread (unless you want to)

ruty Sun 21-Oct-07 10:27:39

I think as Elizabeth said, we have seen some grave miscarriages of justice recently with regards to misdiagnosis of M by P, with the result families have been torn apart and lives have been destroyed. Therefore it seems that the utmost caution must be applied in any case where M by P is suspected.[And one should admit, even in the light of the SW's personal opnion/experience that it exists, that it is not proven as a real illness at this point in time] It does seem a bit like calling a woman a witch in medieval times - once the suspicion is there, there is very little a woman can do to prove her innocence. Of course the most important thing is that children are protected. I just feel the whole SS and medical community could do with a little humility and self examination on the subject, and extreme caution. I do not think this is happening [no reference to specific SWs on this thread who I'm sure do a difficult and great job.]

IBS, it's useful to have a SW's point of view on this I think, please don't waste your time discussing boots and lipstick wink As I have previously mentioned I have a lot of respect for SWs, the only criticism I have in my limited experience is that a lot of them have their hands tied by volume of work, which obviously is not a criticism of the individuals, but the system.

I think people are making a very good point that we don't know the full facts of the case, but as far as they are being portrayed by the media and by FL, the story is that her baby will be taken away from her at birth because of either or both of domestic violence and mental health problems she's had in the past which have caused experts to decide she will suffer from MSbP and therefore harm her baby. It also seems that they are unwilling to see that she wants to co-operate and take reasonable action to both protect the baby and allow her to be a mum. Unless there are significant other facts about this case, then I think this is completely unreasonable, cruel and inconsistent. If there are other facts which are not publicised for confidentiality reasons, then all this will do will be to deter women from seeking help for rape, domestic violence and depression for fear their babies will be taken away - despite all the reassurances you get! I can't see any solution really

lisad123 Sun 21-Oct-07 10:38:27

elizabeth, social workers and children's doc dont make decisions about parents illnesses they seek help from proffessionals in that area. The proffessionals may use the others reports to inforce their opinion in their report but dont make statements they cant back up and those that do get ripped apart in court.

ruty Sun 21-Oct-07 10:45:33

then it seems odd lisa that evidence from the psychiatrists who knew Fran in this case and actually met with her [best for making a diagnosis?] and who had said there was no evidence that she would harm her baby, was not accepted as evidence in court, apparently. and sorry, can't help myself it is 'professional' with one 'f'. Sorry. wink

IBS we are interested-just frustrated by the "system" it's been good to have the other side of the arguement.

chipkid Sun 21-Oct-07 10:50:29

ruty this case has yet to have proper Court scrutiny. Care Proceedings do not commence until the baby is born.

the only Court intervention in reality will relate to a Judicial review of the recc of the LA to remove at birth-then the High Court is concerned with whether or not the LA acted in a way that no reasonable LA would have acted!

The evidence upon which the LA intend to rely in order to remove baby Molly has yet to be tested