Monday, December 3, 2012

Keeping Children Out of Harm's Way

This morning in Raphaela's Gan, as we were walking in the door (late again, because of jet lag...) I observed a scene between two of the children fighting over a puzzle. The boy slapped the girl in the face and then moved to the other side of the table, with the puzzle, and the girl put her head on the table and started crying.  The teacher had not seen the beginning of the event, and assumed that the girl was crying because she could not share the toy, and as the teacher opened her mouth to chastise her, I could not help myself and whispered quietly, "She is crying because he hit her and then took the puzzle away from her."

The teacher then had to revise her intended actions, and began the negotiations of the boy apologizing to the girl, and the girl getting cuddles and reassurance.

I can't help myself, really, especially if I see injustice being done to a child.

I received a phone call yesterday which challenged this personality flaw even further.  Ten years ago, after much internal deliberation, I reported a female patient of mine to Israeli Social Services, because I had the proof I needed that she suffered from Munchhausen by Proxy, that she was injuring at least two of her children because of this bizarre and sad disease.  I reported her with the proviso that the patient not be told who summoned Social Services, because I could not trust this woman to behave in a rational way if she had found out that I was the informant.

Unfortunately, the Social and Child Protection Services in this country lack the resources to take proper and long term action.  They sent an inexperienced social worker over to the house, who after a short interview, came to the conclusion that the children of the household were not susceptible to any immediate and severe danger to their physical or emotional health, and did not need to be removed from the home.

Shortly after, I told this patient that I felt I could not provide the Chiropractic care she truly needed, and referred her out to a colleague.

Yesterday she called me for the first time since the incident, asking if she could return to me as a patient, and I felt severely conflicted.  It was clear even from her speech on the phone that she continues to behave in an irrational way as regards her health, and that her paranoia is alive and well as regards the world at large.  Clearly I cannot treat her with an open mind and heart, and I don't know how to explain this to her without arising anger on her part.

She suffers from a serious mental disorder, and if she chooses not to get help for herself, Gesundheit!  (as my great-grandmother used to say)  But I know that she hurt her children and her family, and that I cannot abide.

1 comment:

Midlife Singlemum said...

You don't have to explain anything to her. Just say you don't have any openings at the moment to take on additional patients. You owe it to yourself and your family to keep a distance from this woman. Good luck.