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Authors: Andrew D Brown
Published by: Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Published in: 1999

Abstract

In May 1993 Beverly Allitt was convicted of four murders, three attempted murders and of causing grievous bodily harm to six other children. Press reports circulating at the time suggested that Allitt, who worked as an Enrolled Nurse, suffered from a condition known as Munchausen''s Syndrome by proxy. This condition is generally associated with individuals who seek to draw attention to themselves by harming others. What seemed to have happened was that once Allitt had been recruited to work on a childrens'' ward a series of child deaths and collapses then occurred. In each instance it appeared to the clinical staff that the event, while unusual, could nevertheless be explained on the basis of each child''s medical history. Over time, and as more children collapsed and died unexpectedly, the bewilderment of the doctors and nurses grew into alarm. Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the children who died and tests to try to determine the cause of their collapse were carried out on each of the children who survived. Most of these tests proved negative. On 12th April 1991, however, a blood test showed that a child had been wrongly injected with insulin. The possibility that this had been done accidentally was, in time, eliminated, and together with further emergencies on the Ward, fostered the suspicion that someone was deliberately harming the children. On 30th April 1991, the police were called to the Ward to investigate. After several months they identified Beverly Allitt as the likely culprit. This case has been written with MBA students and executives in mind. The case may be used as the basis for assessing individual students, to encourage small group discussions, and as the material basis for plenary class discussions.
Location:
Industry:
Size:
Medium
Other setting(s):
1991-1993

About

Abstract

In May 1993 Beverly Allitt was convicted of four murders, three attempted murders and of causing grievous bodily harm to six other children. Press reports circulating at the time suggested that Allitt, who worked as an Enrolled Nurse, suffered from a condition known as Munchausen''s Syndrome by proxy. This condition is generally associated with individuals who seek to draw attention to themselves by harming others. What seemed to have happened was that once Allitt had been recruited to work on a childrens'' ward a series of child deaths and collapses then occurred. In each instance it appeared to the clinical staff that the event, while unusual, could nevertheless be explained on the basis of each child''s medical history. Over time, and as more children collapsed and died unexpectedly, the bewilderment of the doctors and nurses grew into alarm. Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the children who died and tests to try to determine the cause of their collapse were carried out on each of the children who survived. Most of these tests proved negative. On 12th April 1991, however, a blood test showed that a child had been wrongly injected with insulin. The possibility that this had been done accidentally was, in time, eliminated, and together with further emergencies on the Ward, fostered the suspicion that someone was deliberately harming the children. On 30th April 1991, the police were called to the Ward to investigate. After several months they identified Beverly Allitt as the likely culprit. This case has been written with MBA students and executives in mind. The case may be used as the basis for assessing individual students, to encourage small group discussions, and as the material basis for plenary class discussions.

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Location:
Industry:
Size:
Medium
Other setting(s):
1991-1993

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