A Case of Munchausen by Proxy: A form of Child Abuse
Keywords:Case; Munchausen syndrome by proxy; child abuse.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP), also known as medical child abuse, is a special form of child abuse in which a parent or caregiver fabricates an illness in their child in order to meet his or her own emotional needs via the treatment process. MSBP was first described in 1977 by paediatrician Roy Meadows, who identified parents who invented illness stories about their children and even made up physical signs.3 MSBP has been termed as a factitious disorder by proxy in the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V).4
Since diagnosing MSBP is a difficult task for any health professional, diagnostic criteria have been defined by Meadow and Rosenberg.5 Family members or caregivers, usually, the mother of the child can make up for almost any disease, leading to multiple hospital visits, various treatments, and a high recurrence of the illness.
The perpetrator is usually a mother with mental disorders.5 Once the diagnosis is made, it is important to start psychiatric treatment as early as possible while separating the child from the perpetrator.