Beyond Munchausen syndrome by proxy: Identification and treatment of child abuse in a medical setting

John Stirling, Carole Jenny, Cindy Christian, Roberta A. Hibbard, Nancy D. Kellogg, Betty S. Spivak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Scopus citations


The condition widely known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy comprises both physical abuse and medical neglect and is also a form of psychological maltreatment. Although it is a relatively rare form of child abuse, pediatricians need to have a high index of suspicion when faced with seemingly inexplicable findings or treatment failures. The fabrication of a pediatric illness is a form of child abuse and not merely a mental health disorder, and there is a possibility of an extremely poor prognosis if the child is left in the home. In this statement, factors are identified that may help the physician recognize this insidious type of child abuse that occurs in a medical setting, and recommendations are provided for physicians regarding when to report a case to their state's child protective service agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1030
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2007



  • Child abuse
  • Covert surveillance
  • Factitious disorder
  • Factitious disorder by proxy
  • Multidisciplinary team
  • Munchausen syndrome
  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy
  • Poisoning
  • SIDS
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this