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Custody Issues: When a Parent Fakes a Child's Illness

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In some situations, a parent may fabricate the illness of a child or may intentionally make that child ill. Doctors and health care providers are warned to be on the lookout for these types of situations. One doctor says that the abusive situation is more common than we realize. The death rate for children that are the victims of fabricated or forced illness is about 6 to 9 percent. Also, about 6 to 9 percent of all children in this situation suffer permanent injury and long-term disability.

Munchausen Syndrome

Many physicians refer to this issue as Munchausen syndrome. Health care professionals are warned to be suspicious if they see a child that has a persistent or recurrent illness that can't be explained. If their signs and symptoms don't seem believable, then this should be a cause for concern. There is no typical fabricated illness. Some parents may bring their child to the doctor of urinary tract infections, others of seizures, others for bleeding, and some for attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

Doctors are warned to conduct very thorough examinations of children who seem to always be in the doctor's office and to make sure that the parent is not fabricating the illness for some reason. Also, physicians need to always review a patient's previous medical records. In addition to the medical concerns of Munchausen syndrome, there are some parental and custodial concerns. If a parent constantly fabricates a child's illness, this can be unhealthy for the child. As a result, the courts may choose to remove the child from his or her home and place him or her in the foster care system for safety.

Have you been confronted for this syndrome? Are you at risk of losing your children? Get a Los Angeles family attorney on your side promptly.


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