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Thursday, 10 October 2013
Keeping the starfish in the sea
So more files arrive in the Mother in Scotland case and, as the team unravel the mystery of why this child was denied a second opinion for two and a half years, we discover that Dr C made the most damning and damaging "red flag" diagnosis of the MiS and used this as an excuse to deter other clinicians from helping and MiS from accessing any kind of reasonable, unprejudiced care even from her own GP.
This diagnosis, the profile of which MiS does not fit in any way and is an extremely rare diagnosis, enabled the Ayr CAMHs team to wield immeasurable power for the good of the child. They didn't. It seems to me, from reading the notes, that they just used it as another stick with which to beat MiS. The interests of the child are nowhere in the notes. The prolonged insistence on blaming the mother and refusal to listen to her or grant a second opinion weaves its insidious way through every paragraph. And the child clings on to life because MiS insists on feeding her, despite every obstacle put in her way - including insistence on full time school.
I was discussing - well, that's not true - I was ranting about this to a friend, who works within the system at much the same level as Dr C. She said something that broke my heart. She too would have not diagnosed an ed - admittedly, she would not have blocked a second opinion - but would have looked for the problem "within the family".
Despite a massive boost from Professor Lask yesterday, in his Radio 4 interview, where he started with the fact that, for far too long parents have been blamed for causing eating disorders and there is NO evidence for this, it seems that parent blaming is endemic in our system. That there is no point investigating any further or opening up your mind to listen to what the parent has to say because we parents are the problem and need to be fixed.
I also realised, in a blinding flash at 1.30 am that she must think that HWISO and I are somehow responsible for our daughter's eating disorder and that somehow our family is dysfunctional - and from then on, the mind wanders and I hate that she might think so badly of HWISO, let alone me. Look, I know we are not perfect - no family is - but I feel dirty and soiled that someone I thought respected and liked me has lingering at the back of her mind that we are somehow responsible for our daughter's illness or that she "chose" an eating disorder in some way to highlight our dysfunction.
Compared to how MiS feels, which is totally wrecked, this is minor. She has been totally destroyed by this diagnosis and is blaming herself for it. You and I, dear reader, know this is absurd and that this whole case is riddled with inconsistent psychobabble, arrogance and prejudice - well, just take my word for it, it is.
What bothers me is that I had always hoped that a new, younger generation of clinicians coming through the system would have dropped the whole parent blaming, "it's a family problem which needs to be fixed by talking about it for two and half years unless the physical crisis is so obvious that hospitalisation is needed" thing. But it seems not. It seems that this outdated, dangerous, spurious and baseless theory is embedded there for another generation. What worries me is how far these people are prepared to go in terms of ordering Child Protection hearings and drawing in other agencies to collude with them and the frank abuse of power in their efforts to "prove" their baseless theories. I am seeing it not only in MiS' case but also in others.
In the meantime, children aren't thriving. And parents like me are crying at 1.30 am whilst writing emails to MiS telling her that, no, she couldn't have done more, no I don't believe the psychologist however many stupid letters she has after her name and No, you are not a bad mother. This really isn't your fault.
I feel guilty for throwing this starfish back in the sea and I am diving in after her. There will be no white flag from me.
Just to be perfectly clear here, Parents don't cause eating disorders. Patients don't choose them.