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Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy is also called MSBP. This is when a child is made to look very sick or have a very bad disease. The caretaker intentionally makes up symptoms of illness and causes harm to the child under her care. The condition is a form of child abuse where very young children are the common victims. The child is often brought to a hospital for symptoms that are unusual for the disease. The symptoms usually improve in the hospital but come back when at home with the caretaker.
  • The diagnosis of this condition may include documentation, separation from the caretaker, and video monitoring. Treatment for the abused child may include medicines for his symptoms and antibiotics if there are open wounds. The child may be given a special diet to help gain back lost weight. Counseling may also given to help the child cope with the physical and mental abuse. The child's health, quality of life, and ability to function may improve if the abuse is stopped. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent further harm to the child.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Keep a list of the child's medicines: Keep a written list of the medicines the child takes, the amounts, and when and why they are taken. Bring the list of the child's medicines or the medicine bottles when you visit the child's caregivers. Ask the child's caregiver for more information about the medicines. Do not give any medicines to the child without first asking the child's caregiver. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.
  • Give the child's medicine as directed: Always give the child's medicine as directed by his caregivers. Call the child's caregiver if you think the child's medicines are not helping. Call if you feel the child is having side effects. Do not quit giving the medicines to the child until you discuss it with the child's caregiver.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Giving aspirin to the child when he is ill may cause a very serious illness called Reye's syndrome. This could lead to brain and liver damage. Read medicine labels to see if the child's medicine has aspirin in it.

Follow-up visit information:

Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you and the child may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during the child's next visit.

Activity and rest:

The child may need to rest in bed and get plenty of sleep. He may want to nap during the day. Tell the child's caregiver if he has trouble sleeping.

Counseling:

A caregiver may talk to you, to the child, other family members, friends, or the caretaker about physical abuse. This may include what may happen if the abuse is not stopped. The child may need to leave his current living situation and placed in foster care to escape the abuse.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • The child cannot make it to the next appointment with his caregiver.
  • The child has new signs and symptoms since the last time he visited his caregiver.
  • You or the child have questions or concerns about his condition, treatment, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • The child feels like hurting himself or someone else.
  • The child feels that he cannot cope with the abuse, or his recovery from it.
  • The child has trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (Aftercare Instructions)

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