Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: An Atypical Form of Child Abuse

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Abstract

Munchausen syndrome by proxy describes a psychiatric disorder in which one person feigns illness in another person to vicariously gain medical attention. Most commonly, the victim is a child and the perpetrator is the child's mother. Presentations are often nonspecific with apparent bleeding and CNS dysfunction seen most frequently. Early diagnosis is essential. Established warning signs and medico-legal guidelines exist to aid the medical staff when this under-diagnosed and atypical form of child abuse is suspected.

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