Future Healthcare

When parents accuse you

‘Business Dilemmas’

Dr Ellie Mein

A solicitor’s letter brings concern to a doctor following a consultation with a child. Dr Ellie Mein gives her advice





Dilemma 1

What is a Finding of Fact hearing?

Q I am a consultant paediatrician who has been asked to provide a report on a seven-year-old child whom I have recently seen at my practice. 

The parents initially told me that the child had sustained the injuries following a fall, but I was concerned that the injury may be non-accidental. I recorded the history and his examination findings carefully in the records. 

Recently, I have been contacted by a solicitor acting for the child’s father in family court proceedings, as the court has ordered that I write a statement. 

This letter explained that the court was being asked to decide what had happened to the child and in particular to decide upon the nature and causation of the injuries. 

The court was also to determine whether the injuries were non-accidental and, if so, to identify the perpetrator(s).

I am familiar with writing reports in relation to child protection proceedings and am happy to do so on this occasion. 

However, I noticed that the letter refers to the intention of the judge to consider whether I should be a witness or given leave to intervene in a Finding of Fact hearing. 

I have not seen this in any previous letters from the courts before and am concerned as to what this might mean. 

What should I do?