Disturbed And Disturbing A Deadly Betrayal.

2357 words - 9 pages

Twenty-two months of unproductive diagnostic procedures took place in a hospital in England to establish the reason behind a baby's breathing problem. The staff hid a video camera in the infant's hospital room. Sixteen hours passed as a nurse and local police officer monitored the camera while the baby slept with only his mother at his side. The infant's mother then proceeded to move her chair away from the child's cot. She slowly placed a T-shirt on the bed close to the baby's face. After five minutes had passed, she continued to place the shirt over his nose and mouth and forced the infant's head down onto the bed. Immediately, the child awoke and struggled violently. Ten seconds later, the watching police officer alerted the nurses who in turn, ran into the cubicle. By legal standards, the police officer had mediated too soon because of her own anguish for what she had seen. So she determined that she would proceed with her surveillance. After twenty minutes the infant was sleeping on his side and the mother was again alone with him in the room. She placed the child on his back with his arms placed under the cot. Again, after ten minutes she placed the shirt over his nose and mouth and pushed his head onto the bedding. The child fiercely struggled. It was only forty-two seconds later when the nursing staff was once again notified by the police and stormed into the room. When confronted, the mother claimed that the infant had woken screaming and that she was only comforting him (Schreier et al "Munchausen..." 40). Scenes such as this take place behind closed doors more often than one may even begin to imagine. What could drive a mother to suffocate her own child? The mother has a serious illness called Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.To understand Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, one must first understand Munchausen Syndrome. Munchausen Syndrome is a mental illness identified in the 1950s in which the individuals make up stories about illnesses or intentionally harm themselves in order to receive medical attention. They often move from caregiver to doctor and travel frequently, changing treatment locations, so as not to arouse suspicion for their repeated illnesses (Turner et al 347).Munchausen Syndrome was named for the German Baron Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Von Munchausen, an adventurer and soldier of the late 1700s who traveled around Europe. He told glorious tales in which he suffered severe injuries on adventures but survived to fight another day. Because people with this condition often change doctors and hospitals while explaining fictitious symptoms, Dr. Asher, the man who first diagnosed the disorder, named the disorder after the baron in the early 1950s (Turner et al 347).Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is a severe form of child abuse that has just recently been recognized. It is characterized by parents or other caregivers who create or induce symptoms of extreme illnesses into otherwise healthy children (Turner et al 347). Munchausen by...

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