Friday, January 26, 2007

The Blakemore Brown Case: Part One

A psychologist in the UK, Lisa Blakemore Brown, is facing all sorts of trouble. As I understand it, the British Psychological Society is in the process of examining Brown's purported fitness to practice psychology. Essentially, Blakemore Brown has taken controversial points of view regarding the relationships between vaccinations and autism as well as Munchausen's Syndrome. From my research on her case, it appears that this case is an example of a dissident being punished for offending the "wrong" people. It would appear to have little to do with her actual fitness to practice psychology. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with her views; I am stating that she's got the right to state those views, regardless of whom is offended.

A much more in depth layout of the issues involved can be seen at the Scientific Misconduct Blog. To preview, much of this boils down to what appear to be unsubstantiated charges regarding Brown's mental state (alleged "paranoia"), which then allegedly makes her too unstable to practice psychology. I've heard rumors that there is a lot more to come in this saga. Stay tuned.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

there's no evidence any complaint is about her beliefs, it's about her professionalism or lack of it. She diagnoses anything that moves as autistic (or 'indigo children') be sure you're happy to support a lady who thinks it's OK to diagnose people as Aliens and vaccine damaged when she's not an accepted expert in either field. Nobody disputes Vaccine damage exists. Scientology may support the Alien theory too, but when it's parents she purports to help whom bring these comlaints, it's not the professional body or her beliefs, it's her competence as a professional to remain impartial and helpful that counts. She is no victim and quite capable of fighting her own corner, although the 'poor me' act can work on some when implemented by malicious females.

Aubrey Blumsohn said...

Dear Anonymous

I have had the priviledge of reading all of the case documents and all of the transcripts of this fitness to practice "enquiry". I can assure you that none of the allegations have anything whatever to do with Lisa's diagnostic skills, her professionalism in terms of patient care, her competence as a professional, vaccine damage, Aliens or anything of the sort. The transcripts are quite simply appalling. The British Psychological Society is naturally not very keen on the idea that they should be made public.

I for one have no particular axe to grind in terms of the debate about any of these issues apart from the concern that there isn't any semblance of proper debate.

I am perfectly aware that the concept of ADHD/autism as a diagnosis causes blood to boil in many people, even more so the inappropriate drug treatment of such patients which Lisa appears to oppose.

And for anyone who wondered where how the Aliens fit it - they come from this excellent book

Amazon book link - through the eyes of aliens

Incidentally if you call losing your home, your entire career, and having your daughter suffer brain haemorrhages through the sort of ill informed diatribes you choose to post anonymously, you really need to think again about simple human values.

I hang my head in shame.

Aubrey Blumsohn

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" shows perfectly the culture that Lisa is up against. Bullying, unhinged hatred, mysogenist and making unverifiable wild allegations. This a voice which people should fear, but it exemplifies the mentality of the BPS prosecution.

Michael Alexander

Anonymous said...

What evidence does Anonymous have about the complaint? No one has said anything about vaccines or aliens, and bizarre as the prosecution is these things have nothing to do with it. At least there is no evidence here that Anonymous has been briefed by the BPS. This is make-believe with malice.

Paula said...

"Anonymous2 (in the first comment) gives an excellent example of the bullying mentality,
a) that of avoiding the actual issue of the right of freedom to question established science and
b) how to discredit an individual - in this case using a good sprinkling of malice.

Getting back to the case of freedom to question the status quo I personally believe that the only way our understanding of science evolves is by continually questioning it. For instance, had no-one questioned the science of physics, we would still believe that the earth was a flat disk standing on pillars.

Questions should lead to debate from all sides and from that debate we learn what theories might be right or wrong / beneficial or harmful, at any 'present time', from that how to advance on the positives and disgard the negatives - and presumably this is the natural progression to taking another step up the ladder of understanding.

Everyone has a RIGHT to question, and a RIGHT to search for answers, we were born with that facility built in as part of our survival instinct. That includes Lisa Blakemore Brown.

PM said...

Quite right Aubrey and CL Psych. This is an "appalling" situation.

At least three of those railling against LBB have criminal convictions, including at least one who seems to have the direct ear of the British Psychological Society.

I too have read the transcripts of this so called "trial", and as Aubrey states they have nothing to do with patients or clinical practice. A single unsupportable complaint arose from a patient who was said to have been "coached" by a certain support group, and did not have anything to do with her skills. I hope the tranbscripts are placed in the public domain as soon as possible.

I note also some correspondence in the Psychologist recently: several disgruntled members have written to say they have resigned their
Membership of the BPS and raise serious matters about the incompetence of the BPS
and its failures. In one letter the Psychologist resigned after he had
tried to engage the BPS over corruption. He was being asked to falsify research findings for a public project. The BPS did nothing and said it was not its job to get involved in such matters.

Good on you all for doing the right thing.

I found this item of BMJ correspondence written by Lisa around when it all started

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters

SL said...

There is something very wrong in institutions that work hard to silence questioning or criticism by diagnosing those critics as mentally ill or firing them. It certainly gives an impression that they have something they desperately wish to remain hidden.

Those engaging in such tactics make a mockery of science and their own institution, abuse their position of power, cause unnecessary suffering to the critic/questioner and intimidate other members so effectively silencing those too.

It is cruel, unethical, unscientific, just plain WRONG, and needs to be exposed.

Anonymous said...

Quit right, Aubrey. It begs the entire question of what it means to be a professional today. The front of integrity, the arm twisting behind everyone's back, which distorts every single judgement in the end. What an unpleasant and dangerous world we have created. Everyone thinks they might still do some good if they knuckle under, but in the end no one does any good.

Anonymous said...

Lisa is not the only attacked for her views. I know of two other doctors attacked in the same way for the same views.
All these people are all independent of each other.
How many more?
I have spoken to many professionals with the same views and in time they too will have the guts to speak out.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Isabella

Charles Pragnell said...

I have been a colleague and friend of Lisa Blakemore-Brown for many years
and we have worked together on cases in England and other parts of the
world.

I share with Lisa a complete opposition to the use of MSBP/FII as a claimed
theory of child abuse and have particular concerns at its use against
families with chronically sick and disabled children especially children
with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome and others with ME/Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome. Many of the children in this latter group have now been found to
be suffering from Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) yet moves are afoot in
psychiatric circles to have ME/CFS defined as a psychiatric disorder.

The professions associated with the care of children are extremely sensitive
to any form of criticisms of their practices and beliefs and anyone within
one of those professions who questions the conventional wisdoms which others
have unquestioningly accepted, risks the wrath and accompanying sanctions
which that profession can apply. Discussion and debate is not encouraged,
unless of course it is fully in support of this conventional wisdom. MSBP is
a prime example of copious numbers of professionals jumping on a bandwagon
without applying the usual tenets of logical thought and deductive reasoning
to the premise which has been put forward. The Internet is full of articles
by devoted followers of the MSBP theory with none of them applying academic
rigour to what is proposed and not questioning its lack of scientific
integrity or merit, yet continuing to repeat its suppositions and usually to
add their own embellishments. Even the DoH and the RCPCH followed in these
footsteps without any pretence at making their own scientifically based
studies.

Just as the major Christian churches of the past purged themselves of those
followers who question and challenge the doctrines and dogma of those faiths
and label them as heretics, so the professions and their governing bodies
(Inquisitions) are going down the same route. They will be undeterred by
rational or logical argument against their intentions but merely want to
demonstrate their intolerance of dissent and in the same way as the
Inquisitions operated they will give no thought to the basic principles of
legal process nor of the rights of the accused.

Lisa and I are guilty of challenging a part of the belief systems of these
professions and it is clear that the BPS are prepared to stoop to any
underhand methods and to disregard the principles of due process, in order
to seek to discredit Lisa and to thereby discredit her invaluable work on
behalf of families with autistic children. They must not be allowed to
succeed.

Charles Pragnell Dip.S.W., L.R.C.C.
Expert Witness - Child Protection and Child/Family Advocate.
UK/Australasia.

Dr Rita Pal said...

I believe this is one of the complainants against Lisa Blakemore Brown

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7339/693/a

BMJ 2002;324:693 ( 23 March )

News
Woman at centre of Southall case faces prison sentence
Caroline White, London

Robert Freeth, Sunderland

The woman who instigated complaints against consultant paediatrician Professor David Southall, which ended in his suspension from clinical practice for two years, is facing a "substantial" prison sentence.

Penny Mellor, who campaigns on behalf of parents who claim to be wrongly accused of child abuse, was convicted last month at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court of plotting to hide a child from police and social services.

A family from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, who feared that their 9 year old daughter was about to be taken into care, contacted Mrs Mellor.

The family's fears were groundless, the court heard, although doctors had diagnosed fabricated or induced illness, formerly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy. At Mrs Mellor's behest, the child and her grandmother travelled to Mrs Mellor's home in Wolverhampton. Mrs Mellor put them in touch with a Scotsman, Stuart Carnie, with whom they subsequently went on the run for four weeks to Ireland and Scotland, the court heard.

The parents, grandmother, and Mr Carnie later admitted conspiracy to abduct a child. The family members were jailed for between six and nine months each last year. Mr Carnie failed to turn up for sentencing and is still being sought by police.

Judge Guy Whitburn QC granted Mellor bail pending the preparation of a pre-sentence report, but told her: "You would be wise to use this time to prepare for a substantial prison sentence."

Mrs Mellor was credited with forcing Professor Southall's suspension from clinical duty at North Staffordshire Hospitals NHS Trust in November 1999 while the serious allegations she had made about him earlier that year were investigated. Although he has now been completely exonerated by the trust, the string of complaints she made about him to the General Medical Council are still being investigated.

These are my isssues with Penny Mellor
1. Yes, I know of her conversations with the GMC. She had one contact there.
2. I have absolutely no idea why this lady is believed.
3. We have to ask ourselves - who is Penny Mellor?
4. I believe her complaint against Lisa Blakemore Brown is unfounded.
5. I would like the BPS to confirm whether psychiatrists have examined the forensic history and mental state of the complainants in this case. I am happy to examine their mental state myself.
6. If Ms Mellor would like to print this out for the BPS, then I would be grateful if you would kindly respect my copyright.
7. It is important to understand that a protracted campaign against Lisa Blakemore Brown may possibly result in disclosure of important documents related to Ms Mellor. This is of course in the public's interest.

FAO Penny Mellor

By the way, give my regards to that odd journalist friend of yours Brian Morgan. Please let me know if he has written anything of journalistic importance.

Perhaps its important you leave the scientific analysis to doctors and scientists while you spend sometime studying and furthering your knowledge as opposed to getting on your bandwagon and thumping away aimlessly. That is what it seems like to me anyhow.

By the way, CRB checks should apply to complainants as well as doctors. It is a great shame you Penny are not subject to the same scrutiny as all of us.

Regards

Dr Rita Pal

Eve Al-Om said...

The BPS should surely be prepared to open this case for debate if it considers itself to be innocent of the criticisms of LBB. If not then there is only one conclusion, put simply, they have something to hide. Why are they hiding anything when they should be working for the betterment of the victims concerned, whether they be the ADHD/Autism sufferers or the wrongly diagnosed MSBP victims?

Jack Hep said...

If the members of the BPS allow what appear to be irresposible professional attacks on someone of Mrs Blakemore-Brown's obvious dedication and intellect, let alone her professional and personal integrity, by those supposedly representing them I believe they will rue the day.

From what I have read and know of the systematic, irresponsible and unprovoked attacks she has suffered from the BPS executive - including ignoring professional advice when spoken in her favour whilst attempting to introduce (on behalf of the BPS therefore its members) advice from professionals very close to the industries with most to lose from Mrs Blakemore-Browns dogged stance for public good - the BPS membership should act rapidly before their organisation is captured lock stock and barrel by those industries to the detriment of a trusting public.

Colleagues and aquaintances from various professions - legal, medical, judicial - all speak of an what they believe to be insidious developments designed to restrict their fair and proportionate professional principles and practices. GPs who are bound by ever more protocols requiring the prescribing of medicaments their knowledge and experience would have them exclude; lawyers bound by new protocols designed to limit their reasonable action as never before; judges we have read about in the papers who find themselves having to imprison aged and infirm for non-payment of unreasonable taxation whilst being told to release paedophiles and violent criminals; practice nurses threatended by drugs reps, when they try to reform practice dependence on certain forms of medicament; police hampered by form filling whilst ill-equipped and ill-powered PCSOs wander the streets pretending to fill their void in some masquerade that appeals only to the insane political whim.

Speak up now members of the BPS or risk relinguishing public tolerance as well as professional integrity.

RP said...

CLOSED DOOR HEARINGS

The importance of closed door hearings for regulatory bodies like the BPS is they can act ultra vires. They can abuse Human Rights in the name of the public's interest. We know nothing of the commitee, the legal assessor the legality of the said hearing due tomorrow. All we know is that Lisa is heading towards there with one lawyer.

The BPS objected to the transcripts being published. My view is that they are hiding something. As Dr AB implies - there is of course a lot to hide when an organisation is acting against the law.

Charles Pragnell said...

"From further documentary evidence I have received, these matters are becoming increasingly bizarre and Kafkaesque. It would appear that the BPS would be far wiser to abandon their witch-hunt of Lisa Blakemore-Brown and to investigate instead the credibility, credentials, and motives of her accusers. Evidence suggests that there is definite malice behind the complaints and there has been collusion and collaboration in seeking to defame and discredit Lisa.

The BPS would also be well advised to investigate the mental stability of her accusers, their criminal histories for offences of deceit and dishonesty, and their links with and support by corporate organisations. Such corporate organisations have very considerable vested financial interests to protect and have a history of silencing exposure of their misdeeds and of controlling academic freedom if such academic treatises were unfavourable to their corporate interests.

If the BPS decide to mount such an investigation into the malicious accusers of Lisa Blakemore-Brown, I shall be more than happy to provide them with the documentary evidence."

Charles Pragnell Dip.S.W., L.R.C.C.