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Sleep Studies

The story now moves to Cardiff. In 1989 Ben Hollisey-McLean was a 3 year old child who had, had breathing problems since birth. Dr David Southall became involved when his parents asked his Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) if a monitor they had seen on television being promoted by Dr Southall would be more suitalble for Ben than the apnea alarm they were currently using.

Ben and his parents saw Dr Southall in 1989 at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. Ben underwent sleep studies and unbeknown to his parents a secret file was opened in relation to him (SC2026). Ben underwent further sleep studies at the Brompton Hospital in March 1990, on this occassion his parents were offered a monitor and a totally different treatment plan was suggested to the one they were following under the advise of Ben's only clinician of record at GOSH.

Ben's parents were confused and concerned in regards this new treatment plan among other things they felt that the "Regime"might affect his qualiy of life, by this time Ben was 4 and a half and in normal school and so they said they would like to discuss it with Ben's consultant at GOSH. On advice they turned down Dr Southall's "regime". Unbeknown to Ben's parents Dr Southall wrote a letter to various parties, this letter explained that if Ben's parents decided to follow his plan, he would be waiting and ready to implement it but then went on to make suggestions about the parents motives if they declined his offer. This letter was sent to a Consultant in the Heath Hospital Cardiff and as a result in June 1990 she called a Little meeting" which included Mid Glamorgan Social Services. (The parents were not informed that this meeting was taking place and neither was Ben's only clinician of record at GOSH)

It was decided in this meeting that Ben was in a loving caring home and there were no concerns. Ben's parents continued to follow the treatment plan of Ben's consultant at Great Ormond Street, at the same time voiceing to a number of people the concerns that they had in relation to the welfare of children who underwent Dr Southall's "Sleep studies" which they felt were for research purposes and could be detrimental to the wellbeing of the child.

A year later during an outpatients appointment with Ben's Consultant at GOSH they were told that Dr Southall had intervened in his treatment plan and had "invoked Kensington and Chelsea Social Services," Dr Southall wanted Ben to undergo "his tests" Dr Southall had started child protection proceedings to ensure that Ben was put through his tests.

On July 18th 1991 Ben was subjected to the first "Sleep study" without his parents knowledge or consent and against their expressed wishes. Ben was allowed home everyday but had to go into hospital every night for 28 nights. After the tests he was taken from his parents due to an allegation of Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy and was kept in hospital for almost 4 months after which time he was sent to a foster home.

Having proven that they were not at fault he was returned to his parents a year later, but by then Ben was no longer the little boy they had known and loved he had suffered irreversible brain damage. Ben was 6 years old.

His mother then started a 16 year campaign to get justice for her son. The GMC proceedings that were adjourned in 2006 (for about a year) are partly driven by her. She discovered that protocol 85.02 was the basis for the tests on her son. She also discovered that Ben had a Special Case file which was held by Dr Southall where medical information that should have been kept in his medical records was in fact kept separately and hidden


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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

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