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Word Count: 408
Of the many different types of child abuse one form has more recently come to the forefront Munchausen by proxy syndrome MBPS MBPS is a mental illness of the parent whereby they inflict harm to their child to glean pity and attention from the medical community The name Munchausen comes from a similar mental illness in which an individual will harm themselves for this same form of attention called Munchausen Syndrome MBPS has only recently been identified in medical literature in 1977 For years doctors had been mystified by children who would suffer countless conflicting symptoms often causing them to search for and diagnose these children with extremely rare illnesses Kantrowitz 1991 Unlike standard child abusers who may strike out spontaneously at their children from anger or frustration these parents plan their attack says psychiatrist David Gibson Folks of the University of Alabama School of Medicine Kantrowitz 1991 p 64 There appears to be according to researchers certain descriptive traits of parents that are afflicted with this mental illness In most cases the abuser is the mother ranging from ages twenty-five to forty Many have had a background in a medical or health-care setting It is suspected that these mothers have had abuse inflicted upon them at some point in their early life Also very small children are usually the victims since they are too young to relate what is happening to them Kantrowitz 1991 One example of MBPS involves a six-year old child who came to a hospital with symptoms of the flu While a patient in the hospital the child repeatedly developed bacterial infections of his blood Later the mother admitted to putting infections into her childs intravenous tube It was discovered that this mother had a background of being abusive When the child was separated from the mother his condition drastically improved Seferian 1997 Unfortunately with MBPS being so recently described many doctors and hospital personnel do not know what to look
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