Munchausen Syndrome

Munchausen Syndrome refers to the bizarre psychiatric disorder in which patients fabricate symptoms and signs of disease in order to gain attention and sympathy. It was named for the mythical Baron von Munchausen, a teller of fabulous tall tales. In pediatrics, this syndrome appears as the equally bizarre and dangerous "Munchausen Syndrome by proxy," in which a parent, usually the mother, deliberately makes her child sick by administering laxatives, emetics, baking soda, insulin, or fecal matter. The parent secretly sabotages medical treatments and creates complications by various subterfuges.

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