Anti-vaxxers sometimes go off in reprehensible directions. A woman exaggerated her child’s symptoms to blame vaccines.
A leading British “mother warrior” campaigner, who claimed that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is responsible for autism, fabricated accounts of injury to her son and persistently lied about his health, a London court has ruled.
The mother, “E”, who cannot be named so as to protect her son’s identity, concocted a story about how he reacted to an MMR shot. She said that he became distressed with fever and then lost speech, eye contact and play immediately following his three-in-one in January 1991, at the age of 18 months.
She claimed that he screamed after immunization, and that this was followed by six hours of convulsions and vomiting, and then six months in a “persistent vegetative state”.
But the court found that she was lying.
But in a landmark 45,000-word judgment, which entered the public domain last week from the Court of Protection, the mother was dismissed as a manipulative liar. It was found that she had made up the story so as to bring attention to herself and had plied her developmentally delayed son with a mass of sometimes bizarre "biomedical" interventions so as to gain "total control" over his life.
"The critical facts established in this case can be summarized as follows," said High Court judge Mr Justice Baker. "M has autistic spectrum disorder. There is no evidence that his autism was caused by the MMR vaccination. His parents’ account of an adverse reaction to that vaccination is fabricated."
Ugh. I don’t even want to know what the “bizarre biomedical interventions” were.
Ugh indeed. That’s one hell of a scary sounding phrase. Poor kid.
Where is the line between allowing such a parent to retain custody, and removing a child from such a parent’s custody? Serious question, since there’s always the possibility that she might try something again, and more damage to the child could be one of the results.
I feel sorry for that kid, having such a manipulative lunatic for a mother.
Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says
I am not a doctor, but I wonder if the mother isn’t suffering from Munchausen’s by proxy. Not that the kid isn’t suffering from it too, in a different way.
Hercules Grytpype-Thynne #4
That is mentioned in the article:
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
You can relax a bit. From the article linked at the bottom of the article you linked to, it seems that the bizarre-ness primarily came from being full of woo and conspiracy-nut-ish-ness. She was covering electronics with tinfoil and dosing the kid with vitamin pills — and some homeopathic remedies. She may possibly have caused some damage via vitamin overdose, since fat-soluble vitamins can build up to toxicity, but you can stop the nightmare visions of intrusive procedures.
One would have to question the internal self-consistency of any worldview that would prompt a parent to reject vaccines as harmful due to the injection of milligram or less amounts of foreign substances, but embrace invasion surgeries….
Rich Woods says
But…but…vaccines contain DNA, um, RNA, um, proteins and, um, alien biological stuff forced into the body, while nothing biological ever gets into a nice, clean, natural surgical cut…
Area Man says
Autistic enterocolitis? Seriously? What, did the kid’s inflamed colon have a hard time socializing with other colons?
OK guys, it is possible for a child to have a severe reaction to vaccines.
I don’t doubt that this woman suffers from Munchausen’s, but we did see a bad reaction with our son.
Because our second child had what the pediatrician called a moderate reaction to the DPT, he put her on a slow schedule for her vaccines and then did the same with our son when he was born.
He had his first DPT at 6 months, which the doc said must have sensitized him, because when he had the second dose at 9 months, he had an extremely high fever with convulsions. We didn’t fool around, but put him into a cool bath to bring down the fever and then rushed him to the doc’s office, which was closer than the ER.
His fever was high again and he had a rash from head to toe. The nurse bathed him again and they kept us there until the fever stayed under 100.
The pediatrician reported this to the county health department as one of the worst reactions he had ever seen to the DPT. My son couldn’t take the pertussis part of that vaccine at all until he was an adult.
We were advised to have only the DT for the younger girls also. This didn’t make me anti-VAX, but I was all for slow-VAX, which gave them a chance to be a bit older and able to handle possible reactions.
It also made me a nervous wreck when my older kids came home from school with a cough. I always worried that my little ones could get pertussis. I was glad that the schools required immunizations and that my kids, who had a legitimate reason for skipping the pertussis vaccine, could benefit from the herd immunity.
magistramarla – but the vaccine wouldn’t have caused autism.
That’s what she claimed.
Is there an age when parents stop thinking it is acceptable to use children as chattel or use them as building stones for pedestals?
invoking full ownership
Autism is sometimes co-morbid with intestinal disorders and food sensitivities/allergies, so there are a lot of desperate parents who radically change their children’s diet to try and cure not just the intestinal disorder, but they think it will cure the autism too.
Area Man says
“Autism is sometimes co-morbid with intestinal disorders and food sensitivities/allergies…”
Okay, that makes sense. I had the impression that Wakefield was just slapping the “autism” label on everything in sight in order to prey on the anxieties of desperate parents. My admiration for him remains unchanged at zero.
Still, at least the poor kid got vaccinated
Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says
And it’s logical that relieving gastrointestinal distress might cause at least modest improvement of problematic autism-related behaviors and symptoms, simply by reducing the child’s overall stress and discomfort level and effectively freeing up some spoons.
@carlie – as much hucksterism as there is on the subject, sometimes food sensitivities do present as neurological issues. Gluten does awful things to my system…but as a kid, my parents were repeatedly told I had “autistic gut” and my symptoms were normal. (I was never autistic. I had visible neurological problems, and was tired, in pain, and not remotely interested in the pack of shrieking children I was expected to play with, but was not autistic.)
So yes, I can believe that “autistic” kids occasionally snap right out of it on a hypoallergenic diet. Which really makes it worse that a huge percentage of people pushing this sort of thing need a good public flogging for exploiting the desperate; there are kids that could be helped, but aren’t, because anyone who thinks diet affects the nervous system is obviously a huckster. (Yeah, I thought so too…but holy crap, I walk like a normal person now.)
Ah yeah, the autism biomed movement is messed up, I read a bunch about it over at Orac’s(there’s an autism biomed tag). Here’s an example of a biomed treatment: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/06/18/no-matter-how-often-i-read-about-treatments-like-this-i-still-cant-believe-parents-actually-subject-their-children-to-them/
Spoilers: Bleach enemas. These quacks are convincing parents of autistic kids to subject them to fucking bleach enemas, or to make them drink bleach. Not to say that “E” used this, I just wanted to show how bizarre and utterly messed up for the kids these “biomed interventions” can be.
Oh, not just bleach enemas. Mark and David Geier were promoting a “Lupron protocol” for autism. The Geiers got this idea that mercury binds to testosterone and by getting rid of the testosterone via Lupron chemical castration, your autistic child would be “cured.” Or something. *barf*
There are other obnoxious and downright harmful “treatments” being put forward to parents of autistic children, who are hoping to “rescue” their kids. In the process, they’re hurting their kids.
So why is she still in a position to have any influence over M? Shouldn’t M be under the care of a more responsible person who does not have Munchausen by proxy? If nothing else, that would stop the “alternative therapy” which is doing him no good and may well be painful to him.
Definitely. That’s why it is particularly important for every child who can safely be vaccinated to be vaccinated. Your child is going to be at risk for pertussis due to incomplete vaccination and the only way to reduce that risk is for the children around him to be protected and therefore unable to pass it.
Also note that a reaction to the pertussis vaccine doesn’t mean sensitivity to every vaccine any more than a reaction to penicillin means that that person can never take any antibiotics. You can probably vaccinate against other diseases with reasonable confidence (though, obviously, check with your pediatrician and make sure before giving any vaccines and consider a specialist evaluation if you’re unsure.)
I agree in principle, but remember that many autistic people have sensory integration issues as well and therefore may be very sensitive to the taste and texture of some foods and already have a very limited diet. So further restrictions should only be undertaken with caution due to the risk of eliminating the only foods they can comfortably eat. It’s always a risk/benefits balance.
It is crucial that every adult who can be vaccinated against pertussis should be vaccinated against pertussis as well. The DTaP vaccine used for young children may not prevent colonization of the airways by pertussis bacteria (Bordetella); they may still be able to spread the disease, even though they don’t get sick. Anyone who’s going to be around infants or young children needs to check into getting a booster.
This article is very interesting. Some kids might improve with dietary changes. Probably there is more than one disease causing symptoms diagnosed as autism. This article mentions other psychiatric conditions but there is a mention of autism.
Well, others might want to know…