Drug may have caused 'cot deaths'

February 1, 2004

A drug linked to more than 100 deaths is being blamed for a series of gross miscarriages of justice that have seen hundreds of parents wrongly accused of child abuse. A conference drawing together psychologists, social workers and scientists will hear evidence this week that a drug called cisapride – used to treat digestive problems and now withdrawn from the UK market – has resulted in hundreds of cases of wrong diagnosis. Experts will claim the drug is known to interrupt the rhythm of the heart, causing some youngsters to turn pale and experience breathing difficulties. Campaigners say the symptoms have prompted doctors to wrongly accuse parents of trying to smother their children. The revelation will raise further questions about the validity of the controversial condition Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP) – first theorised in 1977 by paediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow – which suggests some parents harm their children to draw attention to themselves.
The Observer

 

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