Pulling the Wool Off Our Eyes: Medical Child Abuse

The nomenclature describing the complex diagnosis of medical child abuse (MCA) has undergone many updates over the years. Munchausen syndrome was coined in 1951 in an article about three patients who lied on multiple occasions to obtain hospital admission.1 Munchausen syndrome by proxy was described by Dr. Roy Meadow in 1977 based on a case of a mother poisoning a child with excessive salt and another introducing blood into a child’s urine sample.2 “Child abuse in the medical setting” was the recommended terminology described in a 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics report,3

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