View Full Version : 'Cruel' U.K. Mom Jailed for Elaborately Faking Son's Illness

Space Gravy
01-23-2010, 09:15 AM
'Cruel' U.K. Mom Jailed for Elaborately Faking Son's Illness

A "cruel, manipulative" mother who forced her young son to use a wheelchair and persuaded doctors that he was the "most ill child in Britain" was jailed yesterday for 39 months.

The boy, who is now 8, spent six and a half years undergoing tests, including exploratory surgery, to determine the cause of his disabilities, many of them inflicted by his mother.

A court heard yesterday that Lisa Hayden-Johnson, 35, claimed tens of thousands of pounds in benefits because of her son’s supposed medical problems, was given free cruises and met celebrities including Tony Blair, soap stars and royalty.

To create the illusion that her son was seriously ill she forced him to breathe from an oxygen cylinder, persuaded doctors that he had to be fed by tube and put glucose in his urine to make them believe he had diabetes.

Judge Stephen Wildblood, QC, told her that the crimes against her son "defied nature". He said: "There are five adjectives which describe you: cruel; manipulative; perverse; disordered; and pitiful. You used your own child as an instrument for your own disordered emotions.


01-23-2010, 11:34 AM
It would seem her sentence is a bit light.

01-23-2010, 11:43 AM
It would seem her sentence is a bit light.

Agreed. Wonder if the child is getting help to cope with a mom like that?

Some people just have to get attention in a sick way. There's a woman on one greyhound internet group who has a similar behavior. I don't think she actually hurts the dogs for the attention, but constantly posts about all their illnesses. She takes them to a chiropractor constantly for adjustments and acupuncture, constantly has blood tests for them and must run up an astronomical vet bill. She must wonder why she no longer gets sympathy from the other women on the group, particularly when she constantly whines that all the tests are negative. Oy!

01-23-2010, 11:43 AM
Munchausens by proxy.

01-23-2010, 11:51 AM
Munchausens by proxy.

exactly. The woman is mentally ill.

01-23-2010, 11:55 AM
exactly. The woman is mentally ill.

All true criminals are mentally ill to a degree. I wasn't on the jury but it would seem her behavior was willful.

01-23-2010, 11:59 AM
All true criminals are mentally ill to a degree. I wasn't on the jury but it would seem her behavior was willful.

Munchausen by proxy syndrome (MBPS) is a relatively uncommon condition that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. One of the most harmful forms of child abuse, MBPS was named after Baron von Munchausen, an 18th-century German dignitary known for telling outlandish stories.
About MBPS

In MBPS, an individual — usually a mother — deliberately makes another person (most often his or her own preschool child) sick or convinces others that the person is sick. The parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by lying and reporting fictitious episodes. He or she may exaggerate, fabricate, or induce symptoms. As a result, doctors usually order tests, try different types of medications, and may even hospitalize the child or perform surgery to determine the cause.

Typically, the perpetrator feels satisfied by gaining the attention and sympathy of doctors, nurses, and others who come into contact with him or her and the child. Some experts believe that it isn't just the attention that's gained from the "illness" of the child that drives this behavior, but also the satisfaction in being able to deceive individuals that they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves.

Because the parent or caregiver appears to be so caring and attentive, often no one suspects any wrongdoing. A perplexing aspect of the syndrome is the ability of the parent or caregiver to fool and manipulate doctors. Frequently, the perpetrator is familiar with the medical profession and is very good at fooling the doctors. Even the most experienced doctors can miss the meaning of the inconsistencies in the child's symptoms. It's not unusual for medical personnel to overlook the possibility of MBPS because it goes against the belief that a parent or caregiver would never deliberately hurt his or her child.

Children who are subject to MBPS are typically preschool age, although there have been reported cases in kids up to 16 years old, and there are equal numbers of boys and girls. About 98% of the perpetrators are female.
Diagnosing MBPS

Diagnosis is very difficult, but would involve some of the following:

* a child who has multiple medical problems that don't respond to treatment or that follow a persistent and puzzling course
* physical or laboratory findings that are highly unusual, don't correspond with the child's medical history, or are physically or clinically impossible
* short-term symptoms that tend to stop when the perpetrator isn't around
* a parent or caregiver who isn't reassured by "good news" when test results find no medical problems, but continues to believe that the child is ill
* a parent or caregiver who appears to be medically knowledgeable or fascinated with medical details or appears to enjoy the hospital environment
* a parent or caregiver who's unusually calm in the face of serious difficulties with the child's health
* a parent or caregiver who's highly supportive and encouraging of the doctor, or one who is angry and demands further intervention, more procedures, second opinions, or transfers to more sophisticated facilities

Causes of MBPS

In some cases, the parents or caregivers themselves were abused, both physically and sexually, as children. They may have come from families in which being sick was a way to get love. The parent's or caregiver's own personal needs overcome his or her ability to see the child as a person with feelings and rights, possibly because the parent or caregiver may have grown up being treated like he or she wasn't a person with rights or feelings.

Other theories say that Munchausen by proxy syndrome is a cry for help on the part of the parent or caregiver, who may be experiencing anxiety or depression or have feelings of inadequacy as a parent or caregiver of a young child. Some may feel a sense of acknowledgement when the doctor confirms their caregiving skills. Or, the parent or caregiver may just enjoy the attention that the sick child — and, therefore, he or she — gets.

The suspected person may also have symptoms similar to the child's own medical problems or an illness history that's puzzling and unusual. He or she frequently has an emotionally distant relationship with a spouse, who often fails to visit the seriously ill child or have contact with doctors.
What Happens to the Child?

In the most severe instances, parents or caregivers with MBPS may go to great lengths to make their children sick. When cameras were placed in some children's hospital rooms, some perpetrators were filmed switching medications, injecting kids with urine to cause an infection, or placing drops of blood in urine specimens.

Some perpetrators aggravate an existing problem, such as manipulating a wound so that it doesn't heal. One parent discovered that scrubbing the child's skin with oven cleaner would cause a baffling, long-lasting rash.

Whatever the course, the child's symptoms — whether created or faked — don't happen when the parent isn't present, and they usually go away during periods of separation from the parent. When confronted, the parent usually denies knowing how the illness occurred.

According to experts, common conditions and symptoms that are created or faked by parents or caregivers with MBPS include: failure to thrive, allergies, asthma, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and infections.

The long-term prognosis for these children depends on the degree of damage created by the perpetrator and the amount of time it takes to recognize and diagnose MBPS. Some extreme cases have been reported in which children developed destructive skeletal changes, limps, mental retardation, brain damage, and blindness from symptoms caused by the parent or caregiver. Often, these children require multiple surgeries, each with the risk for future medical problems.

If the child lives to be old enough to comprehend what's happening, the psychological damage can be significant. The child may come to feel that he or she will only be loved when ill and may, therefore, help the parent try to deceive doctors, using self-abuse to avoid being abandoned. And so, some victims of MBPS later become perpetrators themselves.


It's the nature of the condition. I'm not trying to justify it - I know someone who has suffered through it. :(

Space Gravy
01-23-2010, 12:14 PM
claimed tens of thousands of pounds in benefits because of her son’s supposed medical problems

I'm not sure she was ill, I think she was out to milk the system.

01-23-2010, 12:16 PM
Remember the case here a few years ago where this woman convinced everyone her daughter had cancer? She held fund raisers and everything. Bilked people out of thousands. I believe people like this should be shot.

01-23-2010, 12:17 PM
I'm not sure she was ill, I think she was out to milk the system.the british have made an art form out of milking the system . . . . which reminds me . . . the new series (season) of Shameless is due to start this coming week . . . I can't WAIT!! :D:D:D:D

Space Gravy
01-23-2010, 12:21 PM
the british have made an art form out of milking the system . . . . which reminds me . . . the new series (season) of Shameless is due to start this coming week . . . I can't WAIT!! :D:D:D:D

I'm sure she claimed she needed to stay home and take care of her child and couldn't work. Hello housing allowance, utilities, food stamps etc....

01-25-2010, 04:08 PM
When she put glucose in the kid's urine to convince the doctor that he was diabetic, she crossed the line from attention-seeking to criminal. If a doctor had prescribed insulin, the kid could have died from ingesting it.

She probably does have Munchausen by proxy, but there are different ways the condition manifests in those who have it, and not all commit acts that are crimes. Incidentally, pretty much all the people diagnosed with it are females, which probably accounts for the criminal justice system not taking it as seriously as it would if the diagnosed were males.