A Mothers Trial by Nancy Wright (November 1984)

Publication Date:
November 1984
Bantam Dell
$13.25 for paperback or $4.99 Kindle

Reviewed by:
On July 25, 2013
Last modified:July 24, 2013


An interesting case that gets lost in a lot of dialogue.

A Mothers Trial by Nancy Wright
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Priscilla Phillips and her husband Steve loved their sons but felt their family was not quite complete, even after Priscilla had to have a hysterectomy. So the couple decided to adopt.

With little effort, the Phillips adopted Tia, an infant from South Korea. Within days of her arrival, the little girl was at the emergency room suffering from an ailment that stumped the doctors. With each discharge, they hoped it was the last time they would see little girl who suffered so greatly but within days she would return, often more sick than the last time.

Until she died.

Doctors, nurses, and her adoptive father, brothers, and most especially her mother – or so it seemed, mourned little Tia’s death but reassured themselves by knowing that Tia was now at peace; free of her ailments, needles, invasive procedures, and all of the other horrific things she’d experienced in her short life.

Then along came Mindy, a second Korean native adopted by the Phillips. Just like her sister, little Mindy became a regular in the pediatric ward at Kaiser Medical Center of San Rafael, California.

Two children, suffering the same symptoms, but not related other than by adoption. Something wasn’t right.

Nancy Wright tackles the much debated case of Priscilla Phillips in her 1984 book A Mother’s Trial. Within she outlines the case from the initial reports of possible abuse filed by concerned doctors to the introduction of a disorder little known in the 1970s: Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.

It’s definitely an interesting case and one that took me a while to form an opinion about, thanks to the straight forward writing style of the author who didn’t attempt to form one for me.

Unfortunately, the book winds up bogged down in dialogue. From my research, I found the author had access to evidence which allowed her to use the actual dialogue in her book but the “he said, she said” style made the book a bit weighted and a little boring at times. A summation of these events may have made the book shorter but definitely more enjoyable.

If you’re okay with doing a little skimming (or maybe you won’t need to at all since everyone isn’t as picky as me), then I do recommend A Mother’s Trial as it’s a great study into one of the earliest (diagnosed) cases of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.

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One Response to “A Mothers Trial by Nancy Wright (November 1984)”

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