12. Ward Four: Can you spot Munchausen by Proxy?

12. Ward Four: Can you spot Munchausen by Proxy?

By BBC Radio 5 Live

Hospitals are places of safety, where staff help people to get better. So the parents of four children left in the care of Beverley Allitt never imagined that she’d harm them. The 22 year old nurse was convicted of their murders and harming 9 others on Ward Four at the Grantham and Kesteven hospital in Lincolnshire in 1991.

Police worked out that Allitt was the only person present for all of the unexplained collapses and that she had reported the key to the insulin fridge missing.

Childhood friends and nurses she trained with later told of her self-harm and bizarre behaviour including finding faeces in the fridge. In this episode of Bad People, presenters Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen discuss the self-harming seen in Munchausen Syndrome - and how it can develop into Munchausen by Proxy - where a caregiver induces or fabricates a child’s illness. They ask: could Allitt have been stopped earlier?

Warning: This episode contains strong language and references to violence against children.

Archive credits: This episode contains audio from Real Stories, Sky, ITV.

Presenters: Dr. Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen Producer: Paula McGrath Assistant Producer: Simona Rata Music: Matt Chandler Series Editor: Rami Tzabar

Commissioning Producer: Hannah Rose Commissioning Executive: Dylan Haskins Commissioning Editor: Jason Phipps

Bad People is a BBC Audio Science Production for BBC Sounds


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