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Keywords

child abuse, factitious disorder, MBPS, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome

 

Authors

  1. Pasqualone, Georgia A. MSFS, MS, RN, CEN
  2. Fitzgerald, Susan M. MS, RN, C, PNP

Abstract

Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) is a rare form of abuse in which a caregiver fabricates or produces symptoms of an illness in a child, elder, or disabled person. The deception is usually repeated on numerous occasions, resulting in many hospitalizations, considerable morbidity, and sometimes death. MBPS is a factitious disorder in which caregivers injure their victims in order to gain sympathy or attention for themselves. It was named after Baron Karl von Munchausen, the 18th century cavalry officer who returned home from war and told embellished tales of his adventures. MBPS is a very horrifying circumstance of abuse. Unwillingness or the inability to recognize this abuse deprives the victim of the opportunity to be shielded from future harm. There is a need for strategic protocols and a multidisciplinary approach to this baffling problem. Discussing the clinical profile of the perpetrator, the victim, and the family may help nurses distinguish medical fact from fiction.