by Christina England
Health Impact News
Over the years there has been a growing epidemic of parents claiming to have been falsely accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP). Many of these parents state that they were only accused of suffering from the condition after they reported that they believed that their child had suffered a vaccine injury.
MSBP is a diagnosis given to a parent or caregiver to describe certain aspects of their behaviour. This behaviour usually includes subjecting what appears to be a previously healthy child, to unnecessary painful tests or medical interventions, such as scans, x-rays and surgical procedures to gain the attention of the medical profession. In DSM-5, the diagnostic manual published by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, this disorder has been renamed to Factitious disorder. This “disorder” is routinely used by Child Protection Services to take custody of children away from their parents.
Where Did the term Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Originate?
Sir Roy Meadow. Image source: Professor guilty of ‘erroneous and misleading’ evidence
Professor Sir Roy Meadow was the first professional to use the term Munchausen syndrome by proxy in a paper published by The Lancet in 1977, titled The Hinterlands of Child Abuse, which he wrote whilst working for the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Seacroft Hospital, Leeds.
From the onset, the paper was deemed problematic because the second case study Meadow used as evidence of MSBP-type abuse described a child presenting with excessive sodium (salt) in the blood. Meadow wrote that, on arrival at the hospital, the child was suffering from sudden attacks of vomiting and was found to have plasma-sodium concentrations in the range of 160 – 175 mmol/1. According to Meadow, at these times, the child’s urine contained a great excess of sodium. The attacks were happening about once a month, but between attacks, the child was developing normally.
Suspecting that the mother was to blame, Meadow wrote:
…During a prolonged hospital stay in which the mother was deliberately excluded, they did not happen until the weekend when she was allowed to visit. Investigation proved that the illness must be caused by sodium administration, and the time relationship clearly incriminated the mother. We did not know how she persuaded her toddler to ingest such large quantities of salt (20g of sodium chloride given with difficulty by us raised the serum-sodium to 147 mmol/1 only). (emphasis added)
From the above statement, it is clear that Meadow actually stated that, because he and his colleagues could not understand how the mother had persuaded the small child to ingest large amounts of salt, they had force-fed the child with salt themselves to see if it could be done!
Meadow wrote that, while the relevant services–e.g. the local paediatrician, psychiatrist and social services department–were making plans for the child, the child arrived at the hospital collapsed with extreme hypernatremia. (Hypernatremia is an electrolyte imbalance indicated by a high level of sodium in the blood. The normal adult value for sodium is 136-145 mEq/L.)
Sadly, the child later died.
So, how did the child die? Did the mother really feed this young child an excessive amount of salt, as Meadow suggested? Or was it possible that the child had an underlying condition that had been missed by Professor Meadow and his team?
If the child had an underlying condition causing raised levels of sodium, it may not have been the mother that caused the child to die but Meadow and his colleagues feeding the child extra salt that ultimately led to his death. As there is no clear indication within the paper as to the time factor between Meadow and his team feeding the child the excess salt and his subsequent death, it is difficult to determine if the excess salt given was the possible cause.
Michael L. Moritz, M.D., speaks of several conditions also causing hypernatremia in his paper, Disorders of Water Metabolism in Children: Hyponatremia and Hypernatremia, Moritz named these:
- Fluid restriction
- Diabetes insipidus
- Sodium excess
(If you have diabetes insipidus, you can become dehydrated easily. The levels of sodium and potassium salts in your blood can then become imbalanced and too high.)
If the child had an undiagnosed and therefore untreated condition, such as diabetes insipidus, he may have been dehydrated, causing the level of salt in his blood to rise. As diabetes insipidus can cause dehydration, it would have been difficult for the mother to recognise if her child was becoming dehydrated.
As a paediatrician, Meadow should have been aware of this condition, and yet there was no mention of this in his paper, even though there was a reference to the mother’s breast milk being high in sodium. I found this omission to be very strange, especially as research clearly shows that the condition can be hereditary. It is unclear whether the child was tested for this illness or not.
There were references available on the subject dating as far back as 1926 when G. Mararon and E. Bonilla noted that diabetes insipidus chiefly occurs in early life. In the Epitome of Current Medical Literature titled Medicine, section 88 stated:
G. MARARON and E. BONILLA (La med. lbera, March 20th, 1926, p. 337), who record an illustrative case, remark that diabetes insipidus chiefly occurs in early life. Of fifty cases seen by Marafnon about 75 percent. developed the disease before 10 years of age. The onset of polyuria generally occurs in the years immediately preceding puberty. The disease is uncommon in the first two years of life: the earliest case is that recorded by De Luca (1915), whose patient was aged 3 months. Delafield and Rachel have reported a case at 6 months, Variot one at 17 months, and Pincherle and Magni two cases at 12 months and 17 months.
It is difficult to understand why Meadow appears to have ignored such common medical knowledge and scientific papers in favour of parental blame. Perhaps he actually did check for this condition. If this was the case, the subject should have been worthy of mention, especially in such an important paper that had the potential to change the history of child protection forever.
So, why did Professor Meadow leave out such an important topic from his paper? After all, it is not as if the 1926 paper was an isolated paper, because in the Archives of Disease in Childhood I found several papers on diabetes insipidus.
Here are just a few papers that predate Meadow’s paper. All were easily located by doing a full-text journal search on the Archives of Disease in Childhood: Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s website, using the search term diabetes insipidus.
- Kirman, B.H., Black, J.A., Wilkinson, R.H., & Evans, P.R. (1956). Familial pitressin-resistant diabetes insipidus with mental defect. Arch Dis Child, 31:59-66. doi:10.1136/adc.31.155.59
Lorber, J. (1958) Diabetes insipidus following tuberculous meningitis. Arch Dis Child, 33:315-319. doi:10.1136/adc.33.170.315
- A vasopressin analogue in treatment of diabetes insipidus Rivka Kauli, Zvi Laron Arch Dis Child 1974;49:482-485 doi:10.1136/adc.49.6.482
- Diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus, optic atrophy, and deafness. 3 cases of ‘DIDMOAD’ syndrome. J E Richardson, W Hamilton Arch Dis Child 1977;52:796-798 doi:10.1136/adc.52.10.796
Considering this material was available before 1977 and Meadow was a senior paediatrician at the time he wrote his paper, it is difficult to understand why he did not refer to diabetes insipidus, or any other condition, as a possible alternative diagnosis.
The Term MSBP Gains Popularity
Over the years there has been a sharp increase in the number of parents claiming that they have been falsely accused. By 1995, MSBP had become so popular that Meadow himself even admitted that the diagnosis had been overused and misunderstood by some social workers and legal professionals.
In his paper, What is, and What is Not, ‘Munchausens Syndrome by Proxy?, he appeared to be contradicting his own theory by stating:
Flamboyant terminology has as many problems as advantages. ‘Munchausen syndrome by proxy’ was used originally for journalistic reasons. Munchausen syndrome was a commonly used term, applied to adults who presented themselves with false illness stories Therefore it was plagiarised and adapted to apply to children who were presented with a false illness story invented by someone else (a proxy). While the introduction of the new term, in 1977, achieved its aim in leading to the recognition of many under recognised, ill described, and new forms of child abuse; its over use has led to confusion for the medical, social work, and legal professions. It has been used most in relation to fabricated illness of children, which meets the following criteria:
- Illness in a child which is fabricated by a parent, or someone who is in loco parentis.
- The child is presented for medical assessment and care, usually persistently, often resulting in multiple medical procedures.
- The perpetrator denies the aetiology of the child’s illness.
- Acute symptoms and signs of illness cease when the child is separated from the perpetrator.
As a diagnostic aid, these criteria lack specificity: many different occurrences fulfill them. It is common for children suffering physical or other forms of abuse to be presented repetitively for medical assessment, and for the perpetrating parent to deny that they have injured the child. It is common for such parent’s actions to result in multiple medical procedures and, usually, the signs of injury abate when the child is separated from the perpetrator. Yet most of that abuse should not be classified as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Meadow says that the term Munchausen syndrome by proxy was originally used for journalistic reasons. It was a term plagiarised from the term Munchausen syndrome and adapted to apply to children who were presented with a false illness story invented by someone else (a proxy).
At this point, Meadow refers the reader to reference 2, but when you check reference 2 as suggested by Meadow, it turns out to be Meadow’s own paper The Hinterlands of Child Abuse.
So, what is he saying? Is he saying that he plagiarised the term and it is the journalists’ fault that the term is being overused?
Meadow’s Ties to the Pharmaceutical Industry – The MMR Vaccine
It would seem that there could be more to Meadow’s MSBP diagnosis than meets the eye. I say this because government papers have come to light proving that Meadow had ties to the pharmaceutical industry and that he had been attending government meetings to discuss adverse reactions to vaccines from 1987-1991.
These are crucial years in the UK’s vaccination history because SmithKline & French’s or GlaxoSmithKline’s (as it is now referred to) MMR vaccine Pluserix was one of the three MMR vaccines used in the UK at the time.
The Pluserix vaccine contained the Urabe mumps strain and had already been banned in Canada, under the name Trivirix, in 1988. Despite the ban, however, that same year it was introduced to the UK by the JCVI, under its new name. Four years later, in 1992, Pluserix was removed from the market in the UK after thousands of children developed life-threatening adverse reactions from the vaccine.
Soon after these meetings, there were reports of parents all over the world who were being accused of MSBP after their children had suffered a serious adverse event following vaccination. Were these events all connected, and if so, were experts wrong to have dismissed what Lisa Blakemore-Brown, the child psychologist and autism specialist, had been saying about this since 1995?
MSBP’s Connection to Vaccine Injuries
Lisa Blakemore-Brown was the first to connect the dots that make the very ugly picture we have today. Blakemore-Brown became concerned that there was a problem in 1995 after she was an expert witness in a case involving twins. She stated:
In my first false case the twins I assessed had been born at just over 26 weeks in the mid eighties. They were tiny babies with horrendous complications. The evidence that such premature infants go on to have developmental problems including attention deficits, motor and social impairments is now indisputable, but it was tossed to one side in this MSBP case. One of the early troubling issues for me was that the MSBP accusers initially totally denied that these children had such birth complications! They said this was ‘what the mother said’ and that I had been ‘beguiled’ by ‘listening to the mother.’
It was around 1997 when Lisa Blakemore-Brown was regarded as troublesome by the government and particularly to Meadow. It is hard to imagine any other reason for this other than her unravelling what now appears to be the “government’s plot” to use MSBP as a cover for vaccine damage. At this time Blakemore-Brown had been asked to write an article for The Therapist, exactly a year after Sir Roy Meadow had himself written an article for The Therapist.
Upon reading her letter in The Psychologist, the editor of The Therapist contacted Blakemore-Brown to ask if she would write an article showing the opposite view for the purpose of generating debate.
Mother with Vaccine Damaged Child Loses All Children Under MSBP Label
In her article, which Lisa Blakemore-Brown titled False Illness in Children – Or Simply False Accusations? she describes a tragic case with which she had been involved with concerning a child who had developed a dangerously high fever immediately after routine vaccinations. Shortly after, the child began to bang his head, soil himself, and lose all his language ability.
After many investigations, the child was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The mother began to suspect that the vaccinations were the root of the child’s problems and decided not to have her other children vaccinated. As time went on, she became desperate for help. She turned to the social services and begged them for respite care because she was finding her elder son difficult to manage.
Instead of the help, which this mother so badly needed, she was accused of MSBP and her children were taken away from her.
In foster care, the youngest child, a little girl, was vaccinated against the will of her mother. Instantaneously, and tragically, her behaviour deteriorated in the same way as her brother’s, only this time the foster mother had videotapes of before and after vaccinations, to prove the timing of the changes. Despite this evidence, both the younger children were placed into a new family.
Evidence of Meadow’s Tie to Vaccine Industry Ignored
In fact, it was Blakemore-Brown herself who shared with me the first papers identifying Meadow as a committee member of the ARVI advising the government on vaccinations and vaccination policy.
It was strange, because instead of the outcry one would expect, when I exposed these papers on a site dedicated to the mothers falsely accused of MSBP, I was told they proved nothing of significance and only showed that Meadow attended the meetings and not that he took active part in them.
When Ms. Blakemore-Brown tried to expose these papers, she had a similar response. You would think that papers holding such significant information would have had the newspapers crawling all over them, but no one seemed the slightest bit interested. Let us examine why.
Unfortunately, the papers obtained by Ms. Blakemore-Brown had all the comments redacted, however, since then, new papers have been released with all the comments intact and what they reveal is extremely interesting.
Meadow Found Discussing Cot Death and Dismissing Vaccine Link
On 2 October 1987, Meadow attended a meeting of the Adverse Reactions to Vaccines and Immunisations (ARVI) a sub-group of the JCVI. During this meeting he can be found discussing the subject of cot death (sudden infant death syndrome – SIDS) with committee members. This can be found in Section 8 titled Vaccination and Cot Death in Perspective.
The committee can be seen discussing various reports made available on the topic. The minutes stated:
There was discussion by the Committee of the reports made available on this topic and Professor Meadow identified the need for the present information, that there did not appear to be a causal relationship between the pertussis immunisation and SIDS, to be disseminated and suggested the Foundation for the Study of Sudden Infant Death could promote the knowledge.
It appears from the paperwork that Dr. Fine was not as confident as Professor Meadow in stating that the pertussis vaccine did not lead to cases of SIDS and he wanted to explore this in more detail. However, on reading the minutes it appears that Dr. Fine’s points were not discussed as the conversation changed direction, to discuss the influenza vaccine.
I found this interesting because Meadow has been involved in many cases in which vaccines have played a crucial part. Not only did Meadow appear to misdirect the ARVI on the subject of cot death in the above meeting but it has been reported that he also advised juries as an expert witness that vaccines could not have caused a baby to die in cases in which vaccines have been mentioned as a possible cause of death.
Sally Clark: Wrongfully Imprisoned on Meadow’s Testimony
Sally Clark. Source BBC: Solicitor cleared of killing sons
Sally Clark spent three and a half years in jail wrongly convicted of murdering two of her babies. This tragedy happened after Professor Meadow and another expert witness assured the jury that there was no other explanation for the sudden deaths of her children, other than that she had deliberately smothered them. This testimony occurred despite the fact that Harry died five hours after receiving a DPT vaccine.
Additionally, Professor Meadow had attended several meetings discussing adverse reactions to vaccines, which had included discussion on the subject of cot death immediately following the DPT vaccination.
On June 19th 2007, The Spectator, reporting on the case, stated:
Not many people know these facts, because at Sally’s trial the defence did not mention immunisation as a possible cause of death. Two prosecution witnesses, including the paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow, assured the jury it could be discounted. Their statements went unchallenged, and the issue did not form any part of the appeal hearings. Professor Meadow, a former member of a Department of Health sub-committee on adverse reactions to vaccines, told the jury that he could not think of any natural explanation for Harry’s or Christopher’s deaths.
Why did Professor Roy Meadow assure the jury that vaccines could be discounted? After all as a member of meetings on vaccine safety, he was fully aware that vaccines could lead to cot death.
Sir Roy Meadow was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council in the Sally Clark case in 2005, and lost his license to practice medicine.
Thousands of Cases of MSBP Being Used to Cover Vaccine Injuries and Deaths
These cases were the first of thousands of cases now being reported worldwide and in a follow-up article I will outline a few of the many cases that I have exposed over the years.
To read in full, exactly what Professor Roy Meadow had to say in the JCVI private vaccination meetings and to read exactly how the UK government appears to be putting vaccination policy above vaccination safety read our latest book Vaccination Policy and the U.K Government: The Untold Truth by Christina England and Dr. Lucija Tomlejenovic. Amazon UK, Amazon US and Kindle.
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