Lancashire Barrister Ken Hind and Blackburn Solicitors Simon Farnsworth, Deborah Morgan of FMB took on the case of Mary Kidson a local woman from Nelson, who had moved to live in Herefordshire and secured her acquittal in a landmark case that could have long term impacts on suffers from thyroid and cortisol hormone deficiencies throughout the NHS .
Ken Hind commented ‘’We were initially approached by Mary Kidson’s family to take this case and we undertook it as this was the kind of case which we came into this profession to deal with and protect the man and woman in the street where we see the state has got things wrong. FMB is a medium sized 3 partner firm of solicitors who instructed me as an independent member of the bar’’
Mary Kidson’s daughter suffered with a number of physical problems , primarily she was constantly fatigued, had low blood pressure , lack of energy, pain in muscles and joints plus other problems. She was seen by 5 endocrine paediatric consultants in the NHS – 4 of whom discharged her saying there was nothing wrong with her as it was all in the mind . Mary did not believe this , she researched on the internet , read books on hormone deficiency and accessed the web sites of Thyroid UK and the Thyroid Patients Advocacy Forum . She was convinced her daughter had deficiencies in cortisol, thyroid and oestrogen .
Taking advantage of section 13 in the Medicines Act 1968 she ordered hormones from accredited pharmacies on the internet . She consulted Dr Durrant Peatfield an unregistered physician who had been criticised by the GMC for his views expressed in his book on the Thyroid Gland (can be downloaded off Amazon) who approved her treatments . She was still concerned to have a registered physician directing her daughter’s treatment and was recommended to Dr Thierry Hertoghe , the President of the International Hormone Society with 3000 physician members worldwide. Dr Hertoghe has written 7 books including the Hormone Manual , one of the leading text books for physicians practising abroad in this field.
Mary took her daughter to Brussels where Dr Hertoghe carried out tests on 40 hormones and minerals , far more than carried out by the NHS and diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome caused by hormone deficiencies. He prescribed hormones and nutrients and treated her for 5 months .
On the 5th March 2013 without having spoken to Mary, social workers and police officers turned up at her home & arrested her, took her daughter into interim care where she was placed with foster carers whom she did not know her for 2 months. Doctors examined Mary’s daughter who they said had nothing wrong with her, made no contact with Dr Hertoghe to ask about diagnosis and treatments , despite the fact he wrote to the police , doctors in the case and social services 3 times. NHS doctors ended all the hormone treatments. Mary’s daughter was interviewed on videotape by the police and said she felt better as a consequence of the treatments.
9 months later in January 2014, the police charged Mary Kidson with poisoning her daughter unlawfully and maliciously causing grievous bodily harm or endangering her life. Mary was only able to see her daughter for 2 hours a fortnight and that was under the supervision of a social worker until April 2014 . In breach of her bail conditions Mary was phoning and texting her daughter in response to requests for help and reassurance. Mary was remanded in custody to prison for 6 months for a breach of this bail condition, her daughter was certified under the Mental Health Act and sent to a psychiatric hospital where she remains.
The case came to Worcester Crown Court for trial for 3 weeks .Deborah Morgan who prepared the case for trial commented ‘ One of our first requirements was to speak to Mary ‘s 16 year old daughter as the prosecution declined to call her but Hereford Social Services blocked it at every turn. Eventually a psychiatrist appointed by the defence was allowed into the hospital to speak to her, he found she was fit to give evidence and wanted to do so on behalf of her mother as she was within 2 weeks of being discharged by her psychiatrist. I turned up at the hospital to see her and was told I could not do so because Herefordshire Social Services blocked it. Eventually I was allowed in after application to the trial Judge which Herefordshire Social Services fiercely resisted in court.
Ken Hind stated ‘’ Mary Kidson’s defence was that as a loving caring mother who had struggled for years with her daughter’s ill health she only wanted to see her get well, develop normally and have a happy, fulfilled adult life. After 11 days in court, evidence from 5 consultants, 2 social workers , a forensic scientist and police officers , the Judge directed the jury to acquit Mary Kidson as there was no evidence of grievous bodily harm (accepted by the prosecution) and that the alleged victim’s life had not been endangered. ‘’
At the centre of the case was the treatment of NHS doctors for thyroid hormone deficiency. Dr Hertoghe from Brussels who gave evidence described the NHS as 40 years behind in this area of treatment. He commented that the NHS only treats patients when they are 70% hormone deficient, where he and his colleagues treat when the patient is 25-30% deficient . A major point of argument was the use of natural dessicated thyroid or liothyronine a drug prescribed by Dr Hertoghe. The Royal College of Physicians directive for treatment of thyroid deficiency is the prescribing of levythyroxine which is an artificial type of thyroid hormone T4. This is converted by the body into T3 the main active ingredient of thyroid production and very necessary to sustain quality life. Doctors are disciplined by the GMC for stepping outside the dictat. There are estimated to be 1.3 million NHS patients who are thryroid deficient. For about a million of these patients levythyroxine works. For the remaining 300,000 their problems are different as their bodies cannot convert T4 to T3 in sufficient quantities.
Sheila Turner the Chairman of the Thyroid Patient Advocacy Forum commented thus ‘’ I suffered symptoms similar to Mary’s daughter, I found a doctor who diagnosed my problem and prescribed T3. My life was revolutionised – I felt normal again. The Forum had 1.25 million hits on its web site in just the months April and May this year to give some idea of the extent of the problem. We have seen 10,500 people who have come to seek meaningful information and guidance.
‘’ The defence team ,Deborah Morgan , Sue Hind (researcher) and me are actually all strong supporters of the NHS , believing health care should be available tax funded at the point of delivery. To quote Dr Fraser however, the leading paediatrician for the prosecution in the witness box ,’’ The NHS does not always get it right’’
‘’Thyroid UK one of the 2 major organisations campaigning for change have called for the government to fund research on the use of T3 in the NHS. They have placed on the Parliamentary web site an e petition , currently signed by 7130 people. We ask you to sign this petition as if 100,000 sign there will be a parliamentary debate on this very subject and some positive good will come out of the tragic case of Mary Kidson. If the politicians listen to the views of many doctors throughout the world the whole issue can be is resolved by properly funded research for the benefit of many NHS patients .
‘’Meanwhile Mary Kidson will fight in the courts for the return of her daughter. During our conduct of the case we have discovered that this is not an isolated tragedy which are mainly dealt with in Family Courts where anxious parents have been threatened with removal of their children into care . This has also been true in the case of ME sufferers, a condition very similar in some respects to chronic fatigue syndrome’’
Fund research into T3 and/or natural desiccated thyroid treatment for hypothyroidism
Responsible department: Department of Health
Many patients with hypothyroidism continue to have symptoms on levothyroxine (T4) but find that their symptoms are often greatly reduced when they take liothyronine (T3) or natural desiccated thyroid.
Natural desiccated thyroid is only manufactured in the US and Canada but can be prescribed in the UK on a “named patient” basis. Many doctors will not prescribe it because there are no randomised controlled trials as it was manufactured before licensing of medicines came into being.
Research has shown that some patients have benefited from natural desiccated thyroid but there needs to be more research done to investigate whether this would be a better treatment for patients.
More research also needs to be done on the addition of T3 to T4 because previous research has been inconclusive.
- Herefordshire Social Services Department was reviewed by Ofsted and found to inadequate on all 4 of the main categories and given a 6 month timetable to improve services .During this 6 month period they took Mary Kidson’s daughter way from her without speaking either to her or her physician .
2 On the first day of the trial the Wye Valley Health Trust from which 3 of the paediatric consultants called for the prosecution came, was put into special measures by the Department of Health.