[Münchausen syndrome by proxy].

Oded Scheuerman, Iris Grinbaum, Ben Zion Garty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Münchausen syndrome by proxy (also known as factitious disorder by proxy) is a psychiatric disorder which consists of fabricating or inducing illness in a child, usually by his mother. The motivation for the perpetrator's behavior is receivng satisfaction from the investigations and treatments that the child receives and from the medical environment, as part of a unique mental disturbance. External incentives for the behavior (such as economic gain) are absent. During the last few years about 20 cases of Münchausen syndrome by proxy were diagnosed in our ward. We describe a few less typical cases of patients with Münchausen syndrome by proxy. In all cases the offender, the mother, had only secondary education and no medical background. The socioeconomic background was variable. Recognition of the syndrome and a high index of clinical suspicion are needed in order to diagnose the disorder. Suspicious signs and symptoms include prolonged and illogical course of disease, odd complications, exacerbation that appear just before discharge from the hospital and symptoms that occur only in the presence of a specific care giver. Münchausen syndrome by proxy is not very rare. It appears in all ethnic groups, socioeconomic status and educational backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-642, 689
JournalUnknown Journal
Volume152
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

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