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ASBO issued to patient who faked illness


A homeless man with over 70 aliases, who became an expert at faking illness so he could gain overnight admittance to hospitals, was issued with a three year criminal ASBO.

Christopher Anthony Dearlove, 41, of no fixed abode, was told by Bolton Crown Court that he faces prison if he attempts to use NHS services without genuine need.

The NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service said Mr Dearlove “knew exactly which symptoms would get him admitted to a hospital ward”.

He would invariably claim to be a haemophiliac with AIDS or that his partner had TB, so he could obtain his own room. He would also feign right-sided chest pain, coughing up blood, night sweats and weight loss.


Readers' comments (15)

  • Looking at this situation i think we need to think of what is making this homeless person go to the hospital? Is it because there is lack of services or resources in this particular area/town which is driving the homeless to go to the hospital and receive care. And also staff at the hospital should know other agencies where he can get help and refer the patient.

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  • This seems to happen alot on mental health wards but in a slightly different way..I don't know if anyone else has experienced the same sort of scenario where very often people are well aware that if they can't gaurantee their own safety (as in suicide) that there isn't much other option than being admitted to hospital.
    This seems even more frequent with my subjective perception that people with personaility disorders seem to occupy many of the acute beds.
    It sometimes feels like my job has changed from caring for someone's symptoms to assessing if they are faking it or not?
    Im sure a few people will know what i'm on about where people present with psychotic behaviours that can sometimes can be no more than the person's impulsivity, value base and answer in is in the clue "personality" and not neccessarily mental illness.
    It does not make it right to suggest that people should not be admitted to hospital for this there is clearly something not right if people want to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
    The trouble is although I am broadly generalising and know i shouldnt be, many of these people have chaotic and unfavourable social circumstances and lives not one of us would want to swap with.
    There is something inherently wrong with society if people have to fake illness for the sake of feeling safe and having the neccessties of a bed, warmth and food and worst thing is many nurses look down their noses at these people and Im ashamed to admit it that ive said it myself before that this sort of person is "taking the piss".
    Who am I or anyone else to judge this? personally I blame Maggie thatcher as these are the people who were the losers of meritocracy and free enterprise who are stuck and deeply rooted into lives that will do nothing over than create mental illnes (or not mental illness if you like with personaility disorders).
    Im bloody ashamed to be british, and devestated that the tories are back in for this to happen again and worsen an already broken, uncaring society where greed, power and possession are gods over community, compassion and sharing.
    Its the authorities that should get a bloody asbo for being trusted to care for people...not that poor bloke.

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  • Excellent comments (4 June 11:53) though much as I loathe the torys, I didn't see much improvement with Labour.
    I also work in Mental Health and understand the frustration at working with (often personality disordered patients) people who our service is not geared up to help and the fact that not only are we not helping them, but it means we have less time to help those whom we are geared up to help.

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  • Anonymous | 4-Jun-2010 11:53 am, I do see your point about people in these circumstances.

    But I have to say so what? Yes they may live in appalling conditions, live on the streets, have social/mental backgrounds that none of us would wish on anyone and all of us would have sympathy for, and some may need protection, BUT we are not social workers or the police, we are not there to provide a bed for these people. We are here to provide MEDICAL care to those that need it; and quite frankly if a person is 'taking the piss' (in your words), then they are taking up my time, and a bed that would be better served being given to someone who truly needs my care/time.

    Just to give you one example, I recently discharged a patient (who had been a delayed discharge for two weeks due to social worker delays etc) simply because he lied that he was homeless (turns out he had his name on a tenancy agreement) and a whole host of other lies used to delay his discharge (he was in danger if he left, etc). There was nothing medically wrong with this man at all, he came in with something minor and was med fit for discharge two days later. Every day for two weeks he disappeared off the ward for most shifts (I do not know where, but he was IVDU and alchohol excess, not that I like to make assumptions), returning only for meals and at bedtime. This is taking the piss. This bed could have been used for someone who really needed it.

    I'm sorry, this is unfortunate, and we all wish we could help everyone, but the fact of the matter is we can't. Hell we barely have the resources/staff to help those who DO need medical care! We should concentrate on sorting them out first.

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  • Mike - Well said

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  • To the person that posted first... Why blame everyone else and a lack of services for this guys problem. As an A/E nurse for many many years, seen it all, heard it all (well, nearly). Why can't he take some responsibility for his own actions? He knows what buttons to push to get a hospital bed - probably just for somewhere warm to sleep. There's nothing to stop him getting a council house or some kind of accomodation at the taxpayers expense. He doesn't need referring to agencies and getting all the help he wants, he needs kicking out and being told not to come back. Harsh maybe, but 'regular' people have to deal with their own problems, why can't he?

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  • odds on your a general nurse mike?...i despair that you dont see the bigger picture. I am ashamed I have said what I have admitted in the past.
    I wanted to be part of social change as a nurse...not just a deliverer of medical care.
    This could have been me or you if we had been born into that person's life, I'm not even going to bother trying to change your viewpoint because your obviously a black and white thinker.
    I'm just so disapointed that i'm part of an elitist proffession that can throw judgement so easily. Im really, really sad about this.

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  • Personally I think if you are going to comment about someone or something you should add your name and not post anonymously.
    I'm an ex A&E Nurse and also had a some what difficult childhood but don't blame society for that.
    Its all about decisions and choices we make.
    I could have chosen to follow some people who I shared my early years with who went down the criminal route but chose not to.
    The NHS does waste, in my opinion thousands of pounds a year on people like the the time waster named above. Some may say a harsh opinion, but mine never the less and one I am entitled to express.

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  • Well done you for turning your life in the direction you wanted...its not that simplistic for everyone to have that strength of character though.
    Obviously general nurses as you don't seem to show any knowledge of constructionist theories and seem to think that all of this "natural unaltered human behaviour and choices" as a mental health nurse passionate around sloution focused approaches I would aurgue that nothing happens by accident and these people only have shit choices within shit choices which aren't really choices at all?
    I would never dispute that there are lots of people that don't "need" to be in hospital and are there for reasons for anything other than illness.
    The illness is society itself and if its not too intellectual for some of you, i suggest reading focault's 'madness and civilisation'...we always need someone to judge our own standards against to make us feel empowered as 'normal'...we only call someone mad to justify our own normalness.
    so in this case are we saying time waster to suggest we are worthy of recieving this precious gift of healthcare?
    If im not pushing buttons on a machine or using technical equipment im not providing nursing just sat thinking deep thoughts like this whilst drinking my tenth cup of coffee...but maybe this thought is the tool to stop this sort of thing challenge these processes and be part of change..instead of feeling pretty bloody pleased about my contribution to the world compared to this asbo chap...but thats why hes there isnt make me feel better about myself?

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  • Anonymous | 6-Jun-2010 10:24 pm and Anonymous | 7-Jun-2010 2:54 pm...

    I do see the bigger picture actually, I just think it doesn't matter.

    Climb down off your academic high horse for a moment will you, I have a background in psychology too, so I could argue till the cows come home that your constructionist theories do not hold any weight without context (read Di Vesta, 1987, an old book but a good one! If that isn't too intellectual for you, if you need help I can spell out the basics in crayon, and yes I can be patronising too!) Or I can argue the relative merits of constructionist theories over Glasser's Choice theories. I prefer to say it's all bullshit in this case simply because it does not matter.

    What does matter is this.

    At the end of the day, resources are finite. End of. If I have one person like the one above blocking my bed with alchohol/drug or other social problems, when there is someone with real medical need who may need LIFE SAVING medical treatment, guess which one I am going to kick out.

    And no, we don't call people mad to justify our own normalness, nor is using the term time waster a judgement on that persons exostential existence. I'd call this person a time waster because he bloody well is, he is taking up and wasting my (and others) time when he does not need to, when others do. That is the definition of timewaster.

    I suggest since you want to perform social change, become a do gooding social worker, or a politician. Because you are damn sure not doing any good as a Nurse. Especially if you are poncing about with your deep thoughts and coffee instead of giving care. Or perhaps you could sit on the streets and philosophise all day on the meaning of existence, you would lose your home, your job and may even try to get a hospital bed for the night without needing medical treatment, where I would promptly kick you out too.

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