Psychiatrist Debunks Claims that Mom Suffers from Munchausen
(Israelnationalnews.com) Hareidi-religious protests in Jerusalem that prompted an inquiry in the arrest of a mother alleged of child abuse got results: A Jerusalem psychiatrist debunked a hospital's claim that a mother accused of starving her child is suffering from a mental illness and dangerous to her child. The news throws a monkey wrench in an episode that was accompanied by violent protests, burning trash and growing suspicions of the hareidi-religious public towards medical and government agencies.
A Jerusalem district psychiatrist concluded that the Jerusalem mother suspected of starving her son is fit to stand trial and doesn't suffer from Munchausen by Proxy syndrome, Voice of Israel government radio reported. Dr. Yaakov Weil, who examined the mother, also determined that the mother isn't dangerous to her child. Officials of the hareidi-religious Eida Hareidit organization were satisfied by the results and said that what now remains for the mother is to prove her innocence in court.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court will deliberate 11:30 a.m. Thursday regarding the psychiatrist evaluation and discuss whether to extend the mother's house arrest. They will hear the psychiatrist's and police opinion before deciding the next step.
The psychiatric report criticized a Hadassah hospital pediatrician's decision to diagnose the mother as suffering from a mental illness. "How is it possible that a pediatrician diagnosed the mother with Munchausen, as opposed to a psychiatrist? She hasn't even undergone a psychiatric exam at the hospital," the report stated.
Sources from the Hadassah Medical Center stated that they would only respond to the psychiatric evaluation after they review it.
About a hundred hareidi-religious demonstrators protested in front of the home of Dr. Yair Birenbaum, the director of Hadassah, demanding to know why the hospital suspected the mother might be starving her child.
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman told Voice of Israel government radio that there isn't justification for the mother's house arrest. He also affirmed that the Health Ministry will investigate any claims that it receives of any failure of the health system, including allegations against Hadassah Medical Center.
Several days ago, Litzman posted 200,000 shekels ($50,000) bail on the mother's behalf to guarantee that the mother would be evaluated by a Jerusalem district psychiatrist. Litzman was relieved when the expectant mother showed up for her court arraignment – a day late – due to her not feeling well.
The mother, a hareidi-religious woman, was arrested after hospital officials saw her, on a hidden camera, remove a feeding tube from her severely underweight three-year-old child. She claims that she was trying to feed her son solids. Family members accuse Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center of framing the mother to cover-up medical malpractice of a child who has been under their care for the last two years, without his condition improving. Hospital officials responded that the child began gaining weight since the mother's arrest prevented her from harming her son.
The mother's subsequent arrest last week prompted violent demonstrations in hareidi-religious neighborhoods of Jerusalem. The mother was placed under house arrest since Friday on condition that she would agree to undergo psychiatric examinations to rule-out Munchausen on Proxy syndrome, a mental illness in which a person causes harm to a family member in order to gain attention.
Here is another take on the story; interesting. Did you know that Munchhausen by proxy is a diagnosis FREQENTLY BEING USED BY SOCIAL SERVICES? I didn't.
Jerusalem - U.S. Doctor: Munchausen Syndrome Hard To Diagnose, Easy To Be Accused
Published on: July 20th, 2009 at 09:53 AM
News Source: VIN News By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
Jerusalem - The rioting in Jerusalem over the arrest of a woman accused of abusing her three year old son is certainly horrifying. The destruction, and mayhem, are not only inexcusable, but the perpetrators, until they make financial amends, have disqualified themselves from ever being a kosher witness at a Jewish wedding. Torah Jews do not act in such a manner, and it should be very strongly condemned by Jewish leaders, those found responsible should be held accountable.
Nonetheless, just because some have reacted in such a horrific manner, does not necessarily mean that the story presented by the secular media and the hospital is necessarily true.
VIN News decided to investigate further. When investigating, one must be open to the possibility that the truth can be anywhere. If possible information should be verified by more than Is the woman in question suffering from Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome (MBPS)? Perhaps she is. Perhaps not. Is the hospital covering up something or merely guessing because they have not identified the source of why this child is sick? Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is not.
There are Chareidi people who are criminals and there are Chareidi people who have mental illnesses. However, by the same token there are hospitals that cover up information and accuse people of Muckhausen syndrome improperly. It is well documented that many hospitals in the United States have had a history of doing such things. To see just a few of these cases, see the work of Dr. Helen Hayward-Brown (http://www.pnc.com.au/~heleneli/newsletter.htm).
VIN News, however, was able to uncover new information that could perhaps shed light on the current situation. The source in contact with VIN News has been following the child’s progress throughout his stay on the fifth floor in the hospital. The child’s stay on the fifth floor began in room one of the fifth floor. The child later transferred to room three but remained there for only a short while. The camera was set up by the hospital in room five.
This source has informed us that the child was always fed throughout the night and that the woman was, in fact, tampering with the food intake during the daytime and did so in front of at least two others. The mother did this, according to the source, because she could not stand to see the sight of her son vomiting. While this may not be legal, it does not necessarily reflect MBPS.
It also reflects the behavior of typical Charedi parents who often do not listen to the recommendations of doctors in circumstances where the doctors are not sure of the underlying issues. This information was not confirmed by another source other than the one in touch with us, but this author is absolutely convinced that the source is reporting the information accurately.
Another source inside the hospital has informed us that even after the mother has been removed from the scene, the child is still vomiting his food. The hospital, according to this second source, has not yet officially released this crucial fact. This indicates that the child is suffering from something else other than the alleged MBPS of his mother. The information from this source has not been independently confirmed either.
Dr. Helen Hayward-Brown states that mothers whose children suffer illnesses which cannot be easily diagnosed are at risk of being accused, particularly in the hospital context. The prejudice of this label is so great that a mother's credibility is completely destroyed. Children are usually removed from their care, often without adequate investigation, and mothers are only allowed minimal supervised contact with their children.
Dr. Hayward-Brown, in her article on the subject, notes that the MSBP diagnosis generally lacks scientific validity. It is not a definitive category in the DSM IV (1994), only appearing in the appendix. It is a recent and extremely controversial diagnosis (Allison and Roberts, 1998). Expert testimony is often unreliable and usually does not fit the criteria established in the U.S in Daubert v Merrell Dow Parm. Inc. Despite its highly controversial nature, MSBP is being used extensively in the medical profession, by social services, and in court.
In this author’s opinion, the situation can quite often be exasperated by the distrust that Chareidi families have of outsiders, and particularly those in the medical profession. It is already known that Thus the mother’s actions could have been misinterpreted by these various social factors.
It should also be noted that hospitals are not perfect. Hadassah Hospital’s perhaps most notorious error was in having administered anti-coagulant drugs to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon despite his having been diagnosed with cerebral amyloid angiopathy. This is a medicine that, by all counts, is clearly counter-indicated for such an illness.
Hadassah Hospital, however, generally has an excellent reputation and has literally saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Although people do err and err frequently, it would be wrong to point to errors and assume the worst of a very special group of people. The issue of hakaras HaTov, recognizing the good that others have done and continue to do for us is a very important point that should never be set aside.
In short, it is also not certain whether the truth will ever be known with certainty. If the child will still remain ill the hospital could still maintain that it is the after-effects of the malnutrition placed upon the child by his mentally ill mother. If the child gets better the supporters of the family might maintain that the child recovered from an illness.
Let us all hope and daven, however, that the child recovers a refuah shleimah besoch shaar cholei yisroel. Amain.
The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hadassah Questions Litzman’s Silence
July 23, 2009
litzman1.jpgVisiting Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on Thursday, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman expressed his total support for the hospital, its doctors, and the entire staff treating the chareidi toddler who was admitted exhibiting signs of profound neglect/abuse.
Not remaining silent, Hadassah Director-General Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef asked Litzman why he has remained silent, failing to come out and condemn the violence. He rejected his silence in light of chareidim labeling him and his staff “Mengele” and a “traitor” among other derogatory comments, probing why a government official who is involved in the matter opts to remain silent. Litzman has angered Hadassah and the medical community in general for his lack of support during the entire affair. It was Litzman who fronted NIS 200,000 of the bail money that resulted in the release of the suspect to house arrest.
Litzman responded by explaining that he too came under attack, stating he is not responsible for the pashkavilim.
Rejecting his explanation, Dr. Yoram Blachar, who heads the Israel Medical Association, released a statement that the deputy minister has acted inappropriately in the case, failing to give total support to the hospital, the doctors and the medical community.
The mother, Yenta bas Yocheved, will appear before a Jerusalem judge once again on Thursday. Yesterday YWN reported Dr. Yaakov Weill in his psychiatric evaluation ruled Yenta does not pose a threat to her children.
The state appears equally pleased with the evaluation, stating Yenta is judged to be fine and therefore, she will be indicted and face charges including child abuse and neglect.
In the meantime, Deputy Education Minister Rav Meir Porush continues to exert pressure on the Health Ministry and other agencies, demanding a state investigation into the entire case.
As the mother suspected of intentionally contributing to her 3-year-old son’s ailing condition prepares for another court appearance on Thursday, askanim involved are pleased, indicating the report being filed by psychiatrist Dr. Yaakov Weil is viewed a fair and favorable. It appears the mother met the doctor once again, on Tuesday night, for a second meeting, providing enough information for Dr. Weill to submit an evaluation in time for the upcoming hearing.
According to the askanim, who reportedly saw the report, Dr. Weill feels the mother does not present a danger to any of her children, including the hospitalized son.
It is entirely possibly that if the court accepts the evaluation on face value, the mother will be released from house arrest.
(Yechiel Spira - YWN Israel)
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