chapter  52
6 Pages

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

WithThomas A. Roesler, Carole Jenny

Until recently the physician or mental health professional asked to perform a forensic evaluation or give testimony in a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) has faced a daunting task. Here are a few of the issues that have confused and perplexed the evaluator:

● Is there such a thing as MSBP? ● Is it an illness? ● If it is an illness, is there a commonly agreed-upon

definition? ● Does the term MSBP refer to the child, the perpetrator

adult, or both? ● Are there mild forms of MSBP for which child protec-

tive services are not required? ● Is MSBP common, or extremely rare? ● Is MSBP often fatal? ● If MSBP does not exist, does that mean the child does

not need protection? ● If the parent has MSBP (a mental illness), does this con-

stitute a mitigating factor against the determination that a crime has been committed?