A sick 15-year-old boy has missed out on much of his youth because his parents exaggerated his symptoms, a High Court judge has said.
The teenager’s mother had made him think he was dying, said Mr Justice Hayden, while her “bullying and bombastic” behaviour intimidated medics to the point that it affected their confidence in their professional judgement.
According to the judge, who has not identified the family, the couple’s behaviour led to prolonged hospital stays for their son, meaning he was “robbed of much of his childhood and teenage years”.
Mr Justice Hayden 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 Press Association reported.
He said the teenager suffered from a variety of medical problems and had been placed at a residential unit under the care of Westminster City Council some months ago.
“(His) parents had misreported and exaggerated (his) medical symptoms,” said Mr Justice Hayden.
“(His) mother presented (him) to the world as dying, in extremely alarming e‑mails.
He added: “Moreover, on the evidence, she inculcated in (the boy) himself, a view that he was dying.”
In a ruling published in March, Mr Justice Hayden had criticised Westminster council social services staff.
He said the teenager had been placed at a residential unit under the care of Westminster council months earlier.
But he said he was “extremely disappointed’’ by the council’s “lack of attention’’ to the boy’s care.
The judge said the teenager had received “inadequate educational provision’’, “virtually no opportunity for social provision’’, “negligible physiotherapy’’ and “no satisfactory medical review’’.
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.