09:11, May 25 238 0 theguardian.com

2017-05-25 09:11:03
Teenager's parents made him think he was dying, says judge

A 15-year-old boy has been robbed of much of his childhood as a result of his parents exaggerating his health problems, a high court judge has said.

The teenager’s mother had made him think he was dying, said Mr Justice Hayden. Her “bullying and bombastic” behaviour led to medical staff treating the boy becoming intimidated, he added.

Mr Justice Hayden has criticised the couple in a ruling after being asked to make decisions about the boy’s welfare at hearings in the family division of the high court in London. The judge has not identified the family.

He said Westminster city council social services staff had welfare responsibilities and indicated that specialists at Great Ormond Street hospital in London were involved in his care.

Mr Justice Hayden said the teenager suffered from a variety of medical problems and had been placed at a residential unit under the care of Westminster council some months ago. He had taken the “relatively unusual” step of visiting the teenager. The judge, who published another ruling on the case in March, said lawyers had compiled 40 lever-arch files of medical records relating to the boy during the course of proceedings.

“[His] parents had misreported and exaggerated [his] medical symptoms,” said Mr Justice Hayden. “[His] mother, through bullying and bombastic behaviour, had intimidated medical professionals and others to the extent that she confused and undermined their confidence in their own professional judgment.”

The judge added: “[His] mother presented him to the world as dying, in extremely alarming emails. Moreover, on the evidence, she inculcated in [the boy] himself a view that he was dying. The parents’ actions led to prolonged stays in hospital, the consequence of which was that he has been robbed of much of his childhood and teenage years.”

Mr Justice Hayden said at the latest hearing that he had been asked to make decisions on a number of issues relating to what care and treatment the teenager should next receive. He indicated that the boy had a number of ailments including digestive difficulties, blood pressure problems and joint pain.

Earlier, social services managers had asked him to make findings of fact relating to a number of issues, including the boy’s parents’ behaviour.