Sefton council is again part of a news story about social care and children. This story raises important issues of principle. Here is the story as it impacts on Sefton. The full article can be found here.
Question a doctor and lose your child
By Daniel Foggo, Sunday Times, 6 September 2009
PARENTS are being threatened with having their children taken into care after questioning doctors’ diagnoses or objecting to their medical care.
John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, who campaigns to stop injustices in the family court, said: “Very often care proceedings are used as retaliation by local authorities against ‘uppity’ people who question the system.”
Cases are emerging across the UK:
The mother of a 13-year-old girl who became partly paralysed after being given a cervical cancer vaccination says social workers have told her the child may be removed if she (the mother) continues to link her condition with the vaccination.
In the first of those cases, Ashleigh Cave, 13, from Liverpool, began experiencing severe headaches and dizziness half an hour after being inoculated last October with Cervarix, which guards against girls contracting the human papilloma virus.
The schoolgirl was soon collapsing repeatedly; she lost the use of her legs and was admitted to Alder Hey children’s hospital. Nearly 11 months later she is still in hospital and is unable to stand or walk unaided. Her mother, Cheryl, has now been told that doctors believe her condition must be psychosomatic.
“The hospital brought in social workers from the local authority who have told me they are considering putting Ashleigh on an at-risk register,” Cheryl Cave said. She is convinced her daughter’s paralysis was caused by the vaccination.
Cave said that a social worker from Sefton council said she suspected her of having Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy or factitious illness syndrome — controversial conditions in which mothers are said to attribute illnesses falsely to their children in order to gain attention.
Cave said: “The social worker said I should stop believing the injection has anything to do with Ashleigh’s condition because I am putting my thoughts on to her and stopping her getting well.
“Since Ashleigh was in hospital she has become incontinent and had double kidney infections and chest infections. Have I made all these up?”
Sefton council did not comment on the Ashleigh Cave case.