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Munchausen-by-proxy - Paloma - 01-23-2009

It's fairly rare but does anyone have any experience dealing with someone with this?

I'm pretty sure a relative of mine is showing this behavior pattern. She's always been an attention seeker and before she had a baby, she always claimed to have a variety of bogus illnesses and had been successful in getting bogus surgeries she didn't need. Now that she has a child of her own, her illnesses have dropped off the radar but every time I talk to her, she claims that the doctors think that her son has all these things wrong with him. He doesn't. She tried to tell me that the new "speech therapist" thinks he is autistic. This kid is in no way autistic (nor does he have speech problems) and there is no way that this lady could make a diagnosis like that within 5 minutes of meeting him. I told her this and she seemed mad at me for it. I know she's making the whole thing up and I'm worried that it will escalate into her actually doing something to her son sometime in the future. I'm not alone in my fear.

I have a feeling that her son's pediatrician is on to her or is at least keeping an eye out (She told me that at his last visit, the pediatrician recommended therapy for her. How many pediatricians tell the parent something like that?) I don't want to call the authorities because she hasn't actually physically harmed her son but I don't know if there is someone else I can contact. My mom and I actually know her pediatrician very well and I'm wondering if he would be the best person to contact directly.




Munchausen-by-proxy - ResiduumRevertetur - 01-23-2009

Try to talk to the pediatrician, he may or may not talk to you about what's going on, but it's worth a shot. Sometimes they throw privacy issues out the window to get the best care for their patient. I will pray for your family that it doesn't get any more serious.



Munchausen-by-proxy - frerejacques - 01-23-2009

Paloma Wrote:It's fairly rare but does anyone have any experience dealing with someone with this?

I'm pretty sure a relative of mine is showing this behavior pattern. She's always been an attention seeker and before she had a baby, she always claimed to have a variety of bogus illnesses and had been successful in getting bogus surgeries she didn't need. Now that she has a child of her own, her illnesses have dropped off the radar but every time I talk to her, she claims that the doctors think that her son has all these things wrong with him. He doesn't. She tried to tell me that the new "speech therapist" thinks he is autistic. This kid is in no way autistic (nor does he have speech problems) and there is no way that this lady could make a diagnosis like that within 5 minutes of meeting him. I told her this and she seemed mad at me for it. I know she's making the whole thing up and I'm worried that it will escalate into her actually doing something to her son sometime in the future. I'm not alone in my fear.

I have a feeling that her son's pediatrician is on to her or is at least keeping an eye out (She told me that at his last visit, the pediatrician recommended therapy for her. How many pediatricians tell the parent something like that?) I don't want to call the authorities because she hasn't actually physically harmed her son but I don't know if there is someone else I can contact. My mom and I actually know her pediatrician very well and I'm wondering if he would be the best person to contact directly.

I have.  Real MBP is rare, more usually it's an anxiety disorder and/or pos-part. depression but you never know.  Her health information is protected by HIPAA (the health information privacy act), so it would be unethical for a physician to discuss the case with you. If you feel strongly enough that something weird is going on, then you should talk to her closest relatives about it.  You might also say to the doctor, "Hey, I know about HIPAA, but I just want to say this and you needn't respond," and then launch into your thing.  Be brief and concrete and objective and don't use "I feel" language. 



Munchausen-by-proxy - Paloma - 01-24-2009

frerejacques Wrote:
Paloma Wrote:It's fairly rare but does anyone have any experience dealing with someone with this?

I'm pretty sure a relative of mine is showing this behavior pattern. She's always been an attention seeker and before she had a baby, she always claimed to have a variety of bogus illnesses and had been successful in getting bogus surgeries she didn't need. Now that she has a child of her own, her illnesses have dropped off the radar but every time I talk to her, she claims that the doctors think that her son has all these things wrong with him. He doesn't. She tried to tell me that the new "speech therapist" thinks he is autistic. This kid is in no way autistic (nor does he have speech problems) and there is no way that this lady could make a diagnosis like that within 5 minutes of meeting him. I told her this and she seemed mad at me for it. I know she's making the whole thing up and I'm worried that it will escalate into her actually doing something to her son sometime in the future. I'm not alone in my fear.

I have a feeling that her son's pediatrician is on to her or is at least keeping an eye out (She told me that at his last visit, the pediatrician recommended therapy for her. How many pediatricians tell the parent something like that?) I don't want to call the authorities because she hasn't actually physically harmed her son but I don't know if there is someone else I can contact. My mom and I actually know her pediatrician very well and I'm wondering if he would be the best person to contact directly.

I have.  Real MBP is rare, more usually it's an anxiety disorder and/or pos-part. depression but you never know.  Her health information is protected by HIPAA (the health information privacy act), so it would be unethical for a physician to discuss the case with you. If you feel strongly enough that something weird is going on, then you should talk to her closest relatives about it.  You might also say to the doctor, "Hey, I know about HIPAA, but I just want to say this and you needn't respond," and then launch into your thing.  Be brief and concrete and objective and don't use "I feel" language. 

Oh I don't expect the doctor to tell me anything. I just wanted to give him a heads up. I have a feeling he might suspect something is amiss with her and I wanted him to know that some of her family thinks so to (and I wanted to be specific about exactly what is wrong.) She's actually a really close relative so it doesn't get much closer than me or her mom and I don't think her mom wants to admit how off she is.

There's been much more than what I've mentioned. The autism thing yesterday was my last straw with her. When I told her flat out in front of a couple other relatives, "There is no way anyone can diagnose autism in 5 minutes and besides, he doesn't have autism and let me tell you why..." she just had this look of total irritation with me. Like, I took the wind out of her sails and she couldn't wait for me to leave so she could resurrect her story. A normal person would be relieved to be told in a matter of fact way that their kid is fine. If she didn't already have a long history of compulsive lying, exaggerating her own illnesses, faking seizures and demanding unnecessary surgeries (all for what appears to be attention,) I might just write her off as nervous or a hypochondriac.

Thank you for the input. I'll probably contact her pediatrician on Monday.







Munchausen-by-proxy - frerejacques - 01-24-2009

Paloma Wrote:
frerejacques Wrote:
Paloma Wrote:It's fairly rare but does anyone have any experience dealing with someone with this?

I'm pretty sure a relative of mine is showing this behavior pattern. She's always been an attention seeker and before she had a baby, she always claimed to have a variety of bogus illnesses and had been successful in getting bogus surgeries she didn't need. Now that she has a child of her own, her illnesses have dropped off the radar but every time I talk to her, she claims that the doctors think that her son has all these things wrong with him. He doesn't. She tried to tell me that the new "speech therapist" thinks he is autistic. This kid is in no way autistic (nor does he have speech problems) and there is no way that this lady could make a diagnosis like that within 5 minutes of meeting him. I told her this and she seemed mad at me for it. I know she's making the whole thing up and I'm worried that it will escalate into her actually doing something to her son sometime in the future. I'm not alone in my fear.

I have a feeling that her son's pediatrician is on to her or is at least keeping an eye out (She told me that at his last visit, the pediatrician recommended therapy for her. How many pediatricians tell the parent something like that?) I don't want to call the authorities because she hasn't actually physically harmed her son but I don't know if there is someone else I can contact. My mom and I actually know her pediatrician very well and I'm wondering if he would be the best person to contact directly.

I have.  Real MBP is rare, more usually it's an anxiety disorder and/or pos-part. depression but you never know.  Her health information is protected by HIPAA (the health information privacy act), so it would be unethical for a physician to discuss the case with you. If you feel strongly enough that something weird is going on, then you should talk to her closest relatives about it.  You might also say to the doctor, "Hey, I know about HIPAA, but I just want to say this and you needn't respond," and then launch into your thing.  Be brief and concrete and objective and don't use "I feel" language. 

Oh I don't expect the doctor to tell me anything. I just wanted to give him a heads up. I have a feeling he might suspect something is amiss with her and I wanted him to know that some of her family thinks so to (and I wanted to be specific about exactly what is wrong.) She's actually a really close relative so it doesn't get much closer than me or her mom and I don't think her mom wants to admit how off she is.

There's been much more than what I've mentioned. The autism thing yesterday was my last straw with her. When I told her flat out in front of a couple other relatives, "There is no way anyone can diagnose autism in 5 minutes and besides, he doesn't have autism and let me tell you why..." she just had this look of total irritation with me. Like, I took the wind out of her sails and she couldn't wait for me to leave so she could resurrect her story. A normal person would be relieved to be told in a matter of fact way that their kid is fine. If she didn't already have a long history of compulsive lying, exaggerating her own illnesses, faking seizures and demanding unnecessary surgeries (all for what appears to be attention,) I might just write her off as nervous or a hypochondriac.

Thank you for the input. I'll probably contact her pediatrician on Monday.
  

Tell the pediatrician that she has a history of malingering, definitely.   Monday is probably a good idea.  After the doctor intervenes, she may change pediatricians.  Please watch out for that and prepare to act accordingly.  Like you need this right now, huh?  I'll pray for you.