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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 15:24:46

Oh that's interesting pointy

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 15:23:41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 15:00:40

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 14:02:49

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I'd question the mother's.

Mum and dad agreed with initial vaccine for older dd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 08:45:04

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 08:43:39

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

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 08:30:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Sun 13-Oct-13 08:22:33

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

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

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

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

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