A VERY DANGEROUS DOCTOR: Thursday 12th May, C4, 9pm
Leo Regan is on a mission to find the truth, the truth about Dr David Southall, one of Britain’s leading paediatricians and child protection experts. At first this seems like a reputable, principled position, but apparently Dr Southall isn’t quite what he may seem.
Over his career he has been involved in over 100 cases where children have been taken from their families after accusations were made that their parents (usually their mothers) were abusing them. We then find out that due to his position and reputation, he has been able to instigate these sanctions without needing to battle through most of the bureaucratic red-tape that usually delays these last-resort measures.
The mothers who have had their children taken are understandably unhappy about this, but they claim that Dr Southall has fabricated allegations of child abuse to take the children, which he then uses to carry out tests upon. The plot thickens disturbingly when we hear that Dr Southall is currently facing various forms of legal action and has been struck off by the Medical Council.
There really aren’t many things in this world as alarming or emotive as children being ripped away from their parents in a story worthy of any Hollywood horror flick, but as you can imagine, Dr Southall defends himself doggedly throughout. Yet despite his eloquence, Southall definitely comes across as slimy, unlikeable character throughout the programme and it’s difficult to believe that ALL of these parents are telling lies. Leo Regan has been trying to get to the bottom of this agonising situation for two years but neither side are close to changing their stories. This is especially infuriating for the parents concerned because despite the written evidence they have Southall simply brushes off the accusations.
At over 90 minutes in length, this episode of Cutting Edge is a demanding watch in every sense of the word, yet such is the rawness of the subject matter that you are always distressed and subsequently intrigued by every new story. But unfortunately for us and those involved there is very little closure to be had at the end of the programme.