Family lawyers who practice in the area of child abuse and neglect sometimes find that charges of Munchausen by Proxy have been made against their clients after doctors, nurses, and/or hospital staff have alleged that here are no observable symptoms of illness in a child, yet the child is frequently presented for treatment. The charges allege that the mother continues to bring the child into the office or into the emergency department seeking treatment and describing symptoms that are not seen by medical personnel.
Munchausen by Proxy is a rare mental disorder in which caretakers, usually mothers, either fabricate (make up) or cause illnesses in their children. The theory is that these mothers make their children sick in order to garner approval for their fastidious care and attention to the child. In other words, the mother is seeking positive attention from doctors and other medical personnel.
Recently, Diana Owen, a mother in Massachusetts was accused of having Munchausen by Proxy. The effects upon her, her child, and her family were devastating as she fought to regain custody of her only child Bryanna-Rose. Bryanna-Rose, called by her mother Diana her "miracle baby," was conceived after Diana and her husband had been told they would never have a child. At the age of four months, the infant was taken from Diana by protective services and placed in foster care.
Thereafter followed more than a year of legal battles, psychological testing, and accusations against Diana. The Department of Social Services took custody of Bryanna-Rose on June 26, 2006. It was not until September 24, 2007 that Diana and her husband were able to regain custody.
The legal process in courts handling child neglect and abuse can be overwhelming, lengthy, costly. Diana Owen, a woman of strength and perseverance, proved in Massachusetts that she could prevail.
You can read her story in the Sunday, November 4, 2007 issue of the Boston Globe. A one-time registration may be required. A mother's battle to be believed