Mum in court over 'fabricating' child's health issues

Outside Watford County Court and Family Court

A 10-day fact-finding hearing has been held at Watford Family Court - Credit: Google Maps

A mum has appeared in court accused of fabricating medical conditions in her daughter, resulting in harm and neglect of the child.

Hertfordshire County Council alleges the mum - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - has spent years fabricating, inducing and/or exaggerating medical conditions in her daughter, prompting the local authority to apply for a care order.

The council says the child, who is at primary school, has received unnecessary medical procedures, investigations, examinations, medication and treatment, resulting in significant emotional and physical harm and neglect while in her mum's care.

During a fact-finding hearing, Watford Family Court heard from witnesses including family members, medical experts and the girl's teachers.

The mum has persistently raised concerns about conditions including asthma, autism, ADHD, a hearing impairment, a squint, sleep apnoea, nosebleeds, rashes, hypermobility, ear infections and allergies.

The chronology of the girl's medical history ran to 43 pages - the full medical bundle was 1,425 pages.

His Honour Judge Richard Clarke concluded the mum had fabricated and/or exaggerated, but not induced any conditions or symptoms.

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The judgment says: "The consequences of mother’s actions are that the child had nose cauterisation without significant nosebleeds; had grommets inserted without any significant hearing issues, repeat ear infections or glue ear; had Epipens prescribed without any history of anaphylaxis or allergies; had morphine administered without prescription; and had Epipens used on her at least twice when this was not medically required.

"In isolation, each of the occasions treatment was given is understandable based on the information provided at the time. However, when looked at as a whole, a pattern emerges of inaccurate information being provided."

A consultant paediatrician, as an expert witness, said it is very likely the girl has suffered physical harm, due to inappropriate injections, and emotional harm, as she had to 'play' the role of a child with problems to support her mum, while knowing it was incorrect.

The girl has been diagnosed with ADHD, global developmental delay and spontaneous urticaria - hives.

The mum said: "I do not accept I, in any way, exaggerated the child’s symptoms or misled the professionals to cause unnecessary surgical procedures."

A decision on the care order is pending.