Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Essay by nscccollegegirlUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2005

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Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is one of the most harmful forms of child abuse in more extreme cases. MSBP was named for Baron von Munchausen, and 18th century German dignitary known for telling outlandish stories. A perplexing aspect of the syndrome is the ability of the mother to fool and manipulate doctors. It's important to remember that MSBP is a relatively uncommon disorder. More often than not, a child with a mesmerizing medical history or frequent hospital visits does have an underlying medical condition that has eluded the health care teams (KidsHealth).

What is munchausen syndrome by proxy and how does it affect the family as a whole? Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is a rare form of abuse in which the caregiver fabricates or produced symptoms of an illness in a child, or disabled person. The deception is usually repeated on numerous occasions, resulting in hospitalizations, considered morbidity, and sometimes death.

MBPS is a factitious disorder in which caregivers injure their victims in order to gain sympathy or attention for themselves (Fitzgerald, 52).

        Munchausen syndrome is not a crime. Patients with factitious disorder who self induce injury or illness and exhibits the symptoms of Munchausen syndrome and not breaking the law. It is when the syndrome is perpetrated on others that there in a potential forensic situation (Fitzgerald, 53).

        According to Leslie Gavin, PhD, a psychologist, MSBP is a form of child abuse and may be broken down into four categories:

1.         Parents of vulnerable children- a child may be born with a medical problem or have chronic conditions, and the parent may subsequently see the child as being vulnerable to illness and become hyper- vigilant.

2.         Illness exaggerators- a child may have a medical condition but the parent exaggerates it.

3.         Illness fabricators- a parent lies to doctors about...