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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mother loses court fight to stop severely autistic son being given antipsychotic drug

Written by Brian Farmer

A woman who wanted to stop medics giving her 13-year-old autistic son an antipsychotic drug has lost a family court fight.

The teenager, who has a severe learning disability, was living in a specialist residential unit and had been placed in the care of council social services bosses, a judge heard.

Doctors said the boy displayed "challenging behaviours" and a psychiatrist said he would benefit from being prescribed the antipsychotic drug risperidone and a "sleep aid" called melatonin.

His mother was against the idea but Recorder Darren Howe has given social services bosses permission to allow the drugs to be administered.

Lawyers representing the council involved had argued that bosses could authorise the administration of drugs.

They said council bosses had "overarching parental responsibility" and could make decisions about medication.

But Recorder Howe said the dispute had to be analysed at a trial.

He said the "reasonable concerns" of the boy's mother must be taken into account.

The judge heard evidence at a private family court trial in Leeds earlier this month and has revealed his decision in a written ruling published on a legal website.

He said he had been asked to authorise "life enhancing" treatment and said he hoped that the drugs would "bring about positive outcomes" for the teenager.

The judge said the teenager could not be identified and he has not named the council involved.

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