Intended for healthcare professionals


Two patients who changed my practice: Mothers always know best

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 15 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:k
  1. Charles Essex
  1. is a consultant neurodevelopmental paediatrician in Birmingham

    I inherited David and Meena when I took over medical responsibility for the special school. David's mother was 17 and unmarried when he was born 14 years ago; he had severe spastic quadriplegia and mental handicap. There were frequent messages from health professionals and school staff expressing concern about his feeding difficulties and weight gain; his weight was well below the third centile.

    I always gently tried to encourage David's mum to feed him more, with exhortations about the benefits of building up his weight. Apparently I was not the only one. Finally, his mother had had enough. She firmly but assertively told me that whenever she met people from health or education they always talked about David's weight.

    Did we think that she …

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