‘Expert’ doctor took away my baby because I was trying to be a good mother
A woman has told how her baby was taken into care after controversial psychiatrist Dr George Hibbert said she was trying too hard to be ‘the perfect mother’. The leading doctor is already facing claims he deliberately misdiagnosed parents with mental disorders to have their children removed.
In a damning report, he described the woman’s constant efforts to be a good mother as ‘over the top’.
Incredibly, he even claimed the healthy 24-year-old, who can be named only as Miss B, might be better off living ‘in the structured formality of institutional life’ so she could learn to be less obsessed with pleasing others.
As a result of Dr Hibbert’s report, for which he was paid thousands by social services, the woman’s baby was removed from her and placed with a foster family.
The child was later returned after a string of other professionals said they had ‘no concerns’ about the woman or her parenting.
‘I will never forgive what he did,’ said Miss B. ‘He should be locked up.’
Miss B, a graduate and trainee music teacher, was sent to Dr Hibbert’s assessment centre when her daughter was six weeks old.
She had previously suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and social services were unsure how well she would cope alone with a baby.
A hospital psychiatrist saw ‘no evidence at all of depressive symptoms’ and said Miss B ‘appeared to have no problems in caring for her baby’.
But Dr Hibbert took a very different view after observing her at his assessment centre, Tadpole Cottage in Blunsdon, near Swindon.
He criticised Miss B for eating a sandwich while feeding her baby, and for failing to interact with the child enough while doing the vacuuming.
She was branded ‘lazy’ for missing chores when her baby was ill, and criticised for not waking at 8.30am even though her baby had woken her several times during the night.
When she played with her child or made noises to amuse her, he claimed her efforts were ‘startling and intrusive’.
Yet when she cuddled her baby quietly, he commented that ‘creating warmth, comfort and rocking was something to do when the baby was tired, not when she was wide awake’. Miss B said: ‘The more I did to prove I was a good mother, the more he twisted it to make me look like there was something wrong with me. ‘Whatever you did was used against you. If I played with the baby too much I was upsetting her; if I didn’t, I was being neglectful.
‘The staff would distract us while we fed our babies, then our notes would say we weren’t focusing on the child. I soon realised I had been set up to fail from day one.’ At three months old, Miss B’s baby was struggling to feed and put on weight. But despite the mother’s pleas, Dr Hibbert refused at first to take the child to hospital, saying he suspected Miss B was ‘exaggerating’ the baby’s difficulties due to her tendency to ‘create drama around herself’.