the discredited theory of 
Mothers Against Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy  Allegations

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Exodus 20:16


M.A.M.A. was begun in response to the fast growing number of false allegations of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP). Parents are being accused of making their own children ill. Increasingly, families across America, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are being destroyed by doctors and other professionals who make false and even malicious allegations against desperate mothers of chronically/critically ill children.  

The inventor of this label/diagnosis, Sir Roy Meadow, has now been completely discredited in the UK courts and there is a tremendous public outcry for review of all cases in which he has ever been involved. (For more information see Published Articles) We believe there should be a review of all cases world-wide in which MSP label has been used.

The motives of the accusers can be multi-faceted. Often, allegations are used by a doctor or institution to evade a medical malpractice lawsuit, or to simply rid themselves of a troublesome mom when frustrated and unable to diagnose a child's condition.  Increasingly, this label is being deliberately misused by opposing parents in child custody suits. Many nurses and even doctors have been accused. SIDS deaths are the new frontier of prosecution.


Philip Patrick
died a horrifying death as a 
"medical hostage" at
 
Vanderbilt Children's Hospital 
in Nashville, TN 
because of
a false MSBP diagnosis by a gastro doc, D Brent Polk. He knew Julie Patrick less than 30 minutes and called in a CPS worker, very eager on her first MSBP case. Their actions cost Philip his life! Julie was exonerated too late.

EVERY PARENT who is seriously advocating for their child is in imminent danger of this cruel and ridiculous allegation! Mothers are emotionally raped, publicly slandered, criminally charged and jailed. Even if their child is returned, they will suffer a lifetime from the trauma and may be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from the legal fees!

The word syndrome is usually used when there is a collection of abnormal symptoms or characteristics to diagnose many different genetic illnesses. The word "syndrome" in the diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, is a collection of normal personality characteristics (sometimes called warning signs) of the care giver. 
Never should a pediatrician engage in evaluating a parent's motive for the suspected abuse. A pediatrician must deal with science, not innuendo or personal bias. Even the most seasoned psychologists would avoid evaluating someone during a life crisis, yet this diagnosis relies on the unqualified evaluation of a parent's emotions during just such a time. It is serious misconduct to refer to a parent's demeanor as a basis for suspecting abuse.


The madness continues as the "experts" debate over this controversial diagnosis. Some say it is rare, while others claim it is common. The evolution of this diagnosis continues as even the name is debated...Factitious Disorder by Proxy, Meadow's Syndrome, Pediatric Falsification, etc. All while vying to be the top expert in this field, some claim it is a psychiatric condition, while others state it is a medical diagnosis, or a pattern of behavior. Yet they all involve identifying the psychological motivation of the parent. Munchausen by Proxy is not recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association. Any physician who diagnoses this 'disorder' rather than identifying actual abuse by medical evidence, should be reported to the Ethics board.

Innocent Mothers Are Profiled and removed from their medically fragile child without any evidence that a crime has even occurred. Often, on the basis of a single phone call from a doctor, CPS will rush in and confiscate a child without even interviewing the parents, leaving the "investigation" to the accusing physician! Mom and dad will be instantly treated as criminals, guilty until proven innocent, and may lose the rest of their children as well. In reality, the accusers, medical caregivers and Child Protective Service (CPS) workers often perpetrate the real abuse.

The child is held up like a carrot, causing the mother to dance to their tune and agree to "MSBP counseling". Much of the purpose of this is to extract a false "confession," while assuring the mother that cooperation will enable a quicker reunification. Financially and emotionally drained from their child's long illness, many moms are manipulated and entrapped in this "web of deceit" because of their inability to fight. 

The false MSBP diagnosis can be gravely detrimental; adding deep emotional stress to an ill child from maternal deprivation. Aggressive treatment may be stopped with the assumption that just "removing the mother" will get results, risking serious consequences to the child's well-being. Also, the child's health is further jeopardized because the mother's watchful eye is replaced with rotating nurses who have little or no experience with the child and his/her intricacies.

Relatives, friends or even family Ministers are barred from being able to nurture or advocate for the child, branded as also a threat and guilty by association.  This policy is designed to do no other than cover for the physician and hospital; to eliminate witnesses against them! Incredibly, all of this is being practiced in hospitals publicizing their "Family Centered Care." Meanwhile the child is held as a "medical hostage" under the care of a physician or hospital who might do anything to protect their credibility!

Considering that a report by Harvard School of Public Health states that approximately 180,000 Americans die each year as a result of medically induced injury or negligence, we should not be surprised in the surge of MSBP cases reported. This is a wealthy industry that does not want scrutiny and one that will take extraordinary measures to protect their image and income. That's why this "syndrome" was crafted broadly to imitate the actions of most advocating mothers - those who might "over utilize" the system.

If the MSBP diagnosis is eventually proven to be erroneous and negligent, causing real harm or even death to the child, both the physician and CPS workers hide behind a guise of Good Faith Immunity Laws. The physician will proclaim that he had a legal responsibility to report even the slightest suspicion of abuse, even if he hadn't followed standard medical guidelines for researching all possible conditions which would produce the same symptoms. CPS, in turn, will cry that they were only responding to the expert opinion. 

Our mission is to stop the assault on innocent parents from MSBP allegations and to reveal the ulterior motives of the accusers. Prevent the broad label from being used in a court of law and hold accountable any physician who acts as judge and jury. 

We must educate parents at risk, that an MSBP "diagnosis" and "profile" can easily be fitted to include any mom who seriously advocates for her child. Laws must be changed to safeguard children and families. It is much too easy for a physician to make this accusation with no accountability if they are wrong. Hospitals, physicians and insurance companies have too much to gain by deterring a possible medical malpractice suit. 

Special Note: We acknowledge that occurrences of child abuse are very real in our society and if a physician has real evidence to suspect child abuse, regardless of the motive of the perpetrator, it must be investigated and the perpetrators brought to swift and effective justice!

In contrast, often the agenda behind Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is to be able to make an accusation without evidence, but by the Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy profile . If it is in fact a crime has been committed, call it by it's real name...suffocation, poisoning, tampering with urine sample, etc....offer evidence! You don't need fancy labels or self-proclaimed experts to line their pockets pretending to be the only ones who know how to diagnose a crime. 

"one of the most pernicious and ill-founded theories to have gained currency in childcare and social services over the past 10 to 15 years" -- Lord Howe, shadow spokesperson for Health, House of Lords

Published Articles & Other Links  
The experts unmasked

Action Alert
We need your help!
Please contact me if you have a child who may have had an adverse reaction to Reglan (metoclopramide) since Summer of 2000. juliep@msbp.com

Movie News!

MAMA/M.A.M.A.

From the producer of Waco: The Rules of Engagement (1997 FFF) comes this provocative investigation of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a perplexing psychological disorder where a mother secretly but deliberately harms her child in order to get the sympathy and praise of others and the attention of the medical community. What emerges over three years of scrutiny are disturbing questions related to the medical profession's arrogant use of the diagnosis, the possible contribution from the pharmaceutical industry, and its grievous impact on families. Or is Mama really responsible? Is this syndrome an authentic phenomenon or is it a witch-hunt? What are the moral implications of a society that fails to question the science behind the disorder, blindly lending faith to its sensational existence? The deeply disturbing MAMA/M.A.M.A. closely follows three cases, allowing the audience to absorb all points of view and determine who the real abusers are.

* DVD now available!

Book News

"Disordered Mother or Disordered Diagnosis:  Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome"
Read the Foreword to this thought-provoking book by The Analytic Press

"One of the finest, most erudite pieces of scholarship and clear thinking I have yet to read, Dr. Mart's treatise explodes the myths of faulty reasoning and pseudoscience underlying the MSBP construct. His masterful and elevating exposť fully embraces the scientific heart of advanced differential diagnosis and shines a lasered beacon for directing competent investigations of purported abuse phenomena. 'Unenlightened expertise' will topple in the wake of this masterful work."
Kirk Witherspoon, Ph.D., Forensic & Clinical Psychologist
Moline, Illinois

(click on book for author's website)

Available at Amazon.com

 
Using scientific evidence and case studies from three continents, investigative journalist Craig McGill argues that the well-being of children across the world is of paramount importance. He examines the psychological damage caused to the children involved and the sometimes fatal consequences of a misdiagnosis.

Do No Harm? confronts a crucial childcare issue of our time. Are mothers really putting their children's lives at risk? Or are frustrated doctors using MSBP to cover up their lack of knowledge or, in some cases their medical negligence?

Available at Amazon.com  

This is the first book to look at the links between ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders in depth. The author uses the metaphor of the 'tapestry' to more clearly explain the interwoven nature of these disorders. She discusses different approaches, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and of finding the right approach for each child. This holistic viewpoint is extremely useful for parents because it demonstrates how a deeper understanding of the complexity of human development can lead to more appropriate early intervention and treatment plans for children with complex symptoms.

 Lisa Blakemore-Brown is an independent applied psychologist specializing in ADHD, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. She is Chairwoman of Promoting Parenting Skills (BPS Psychologists) in the UK. Her recent research has focused on early intensive system intervention, and the increasing professional recognition of the overlapping features of ADHD and Asperger Syndrome.

Available at Amazon.com


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