This is from the Bristol Evening Post - you could not make this up even if you worked for the Daily Mail or a genius scriptwriter
THE WOMAN BRANDED A 'WALKING SOCIAL DISASTER
BY JOHN HOUSEMAN EPNEWS10:40 - 22 July 2006
Single mum-of-six Sandy Blackman was furious after she discovered her doctor had branded her a ''walking social disaster" in medical notes. The 42-year-old from Bedminster has six children by five different men and admits that most of them were conceived during ''one night stands or accidents".She has never worked in her life and rakes in £22,000 a year in benefits - the equivalent of someone with a gross income of £34,000 a year. But she was horrified when she requested her medical notes and discovered her obstetrician Peter Niven had suggested she be sterilised.He described her as ''a socially disastrous girl with a penchant for West Indian consorts".Mr Niven then suggested that ''interval sterilisation after this pregnancy is really the answer for her".Yesterday Sandy said: ''I was furious when I read what he'd put - it really hurt my feelings. I don't really understand what it means, but if he's saying I'm a bad mum, that's just not true.''I'm a very good mum and I've done very well considering my circumstances. But I've just had the wrong start in life and social services haven't helped me at all. Mr Niven shouldn't have judged me like that - what right has he got?"Sandy first became pregnant at 17 with daughter Marcia, now 25, who was brought up by her mother, Doris. She had three more children - Daryl, 23, Chantel, 22, and Junior, 20, - by the time she was 21. They were all taken into care. Her two youngest daughters Misha, 17, and two-year-old Paris, live with her.Sandy did not use contraception for five out of the six pregnancies.She was referred to Mr Niven, a consultant obstetrician, at Bristol Maternity Hospital for five out of her six pregnancies during the 1980s. But Sandy only saw her notes in May this year when she requested them from her GP.She was horrified when she saw Mr Niven had described her as ''this unmarried girl with social problems".In February 1988 he wrote ''this exasperating but engaging girl returns to haunt me with a pregnancy on a fairly regular basis."He then went on to say: ''Whilst I'm not usually very happy about undertaking such a final procedure in one so young, I think that interval sterilisation after this pregnancy is really the answer for her.''Sandy lives in a three-bed council house and receives £22,305 a year in benefits.She receives £50 a week in housing benefit, £28.95 a week child benefit, £140 a week incapacity benefit, £50 income support for herself and £80 for each child.United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust apologised for the language used by Mr Niven, who is now retired, after Sandy complained.She said: ''I suppose people might think I should have got rid of some of my pregnancies or I shouldn't have got pregnant, but it just happened. When I was 17, I was too young to look after Marcia so my mum looked after her for me.''When I had the next three I didn't really have anywhere permanent to live so I thought maybe it was better for them to be taken into care. I was married to Misha's dad but all the others were sort of one-night things or accidents.''People may think it looks bad but I don't look upon myself as a bad mother. I may not have the best relationship with my kids but I just met the wrong men. I'm totally off them now - although I would like to meet a rich one to look after me.''Sandy, who has a three-year-old granddaughter whose name she cannot remember, has never worked and is now on incapacity benefit of £140 a week for depression.United Bristol Healthcare Trust medical director Jonathan Sheffield said in a statement yesterday: "The trust has apologised to Ms Blackman for the distress caused by letters written to her GP in the 1980s. The member of staff has since retired. Comments of this nature are in any case totally unacceptable in this day and age and as such would result in a formal investigation and possible disciplinary action. All our staff are made fully aware of the need to respect the dignity of patients."Speaking from his home in Clifton, Mr Niven said: ''I remember her as a charming girl with a number of social problems who didn't always attend the clinic. You shouldn't write anything in a patient's notes that you're not happy with and I was happy with what I wrote.''We even discussed the fact that she had social problems and I thought she accepted that. I remember her as a very pleasant girl and I thought we had a very good relationship."It's sad that she's reacted like this but perhaps I should have been more bland in what I wrote.''In a letter to Sandy, the chief executive of United Bristol Healthcare Trust, Ron Kerr, wrote: ''I would like to apologise for any distress caused to Ms Blackman by the three letters written by Mr Niven in 1983, 1985 and 1988. Mr Niven has since retired. However, I can assure you that the language used is them would not be that used nowadays."