SITTING AT LEYLAND
B e f o r e :
| Lancashire CC
|- and –
Crown Copyright ©
His Honour Judge Duggan sitting as a High Court judge:
a) Throughout the period the child had the diagnosis of reflux and at least some of the vomiting and distress which occurred periodically throughout were only to be expected.
b) Improvements started while the mother was present. She applied herself and achieved some improved feeding. It accelerated when she left.
a) I record that the important Royal College Practical Guide to FII and the Government's Safeguarding Guidance were not prominently in the minds of those at the coalface of this investigation. The GP really should have been involved to supplement the social worker's assumption that he would be supportive of the family in the light of the health visitors' reports. However this has no impact on the findings of fact which I make against the mother.
b) There really is a limit to the extent to which the local authority can conduct an independent assessment save by the instruction of experts, who in this case supported the treating team.
c) The President's criticisms of local authorities in the Darlington case have no application here.
a) The mother is prone to anxiety, particularly when stressed and unsupported.
b) The child developed severe symptoms of reflux which required hospital admission and surgery. Medical uncertainty increased the mother's anxiety.
c) After the third surgical procedure she was very nervous that the reintroduction of feeding would again produce vomiting and distress.
d) On 8 February 2015 she gave a false report of the presence of blood spots in the child's bile bag.
e) On 9 February 2015 she spent an hour with Dr Khalil who was observing the child. When the child did not vomit as she expected, in her frustration the mother manufactured the symptoms of vomiting using the contents of the bile bag.
f) Subsequently the mother participated in the feeding of the child but nervous of the consequences, she was inconsistent, sometimes resisting the use of the tube, and sometimes feeding the child too slowly.
g) Her anxiety communicated itself to the child and made feeding more difficult such that the recovery accelerated in her absence.
h) There was no fabrication or inducing of illness beyond the limited degree set out above, within an overall framework of anxiety.