Munchausen Syndrome

Munchausen Syndrome
   Deliberately simulating medical or surgical illness in order to be admitted to hospital for an operation is a form of malingering, unlike involuntary addiction to surgery. (See HYSTERIA: Karl Menninger describes "polysurgical addiction" [1934].) The faking of illness is called Munchausen syndrome, after an anonymous pamphlet that appeared in 1785 in London, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was partly based on the adventures of the real Hieronymus, Count von Münchhausen, who in the service of the Russian army before 1760 achieved fantastic military and athletic feats. In 1951, Richard A. J. Asher (1912–1969),* a London internist affiliated with the Central Middlesex Hospital who had a special interest in mental disorder, suggested the term "Munchausen syndrome" in the Lancet for * Asher is also remembered for a 1947 paper in the British Medical Journal on "the dangers of going to bed," a warning to physicians against overprescribing bed rest. patients with fantastical medical stories who simulated illness in order to gain an operation: "The patient . . . is admitted to hospital with apparent acute illness supported by a plausible and dramatic history. Usually his story is largely made up of falsehoods; he is found to have attended, and deceived, an astounding number of other hospitals; and he nearly always discharges himself against advice, after quarrelling violently with both doctors and nurses. A large number of abdominal scars is particularly characteristic of this condition" (p. 339).
   In 1977 in the Lancet, (Samuel) Roy Meadow (1933–), a pediatrician at a child hospital in Leeds, proposed "Munchausen syndrome by proxy" for parents who falsely reported that their children had a variety of fantastical illnesses. He assigned it to "the hinterland of child abuse." Sir Roy, as he later was knighted in 1997, achieved national prominence for the observation that, "one sudden infant death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder, unless proven otherwise." This gained him a reputation for being particularly severe in assessing multiple crib deaths in one family.

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Münchausen syndrome — For feigned mental illness, see Malingering. Factitious disorders Classification and external resources ICD 10 F68.1 ICD 9 …   Wikipedia

  • Munchausen syndrome — Infobox Disease Name = Munchausen syndrome Caption = DiseasesDB = 8459 DiseasesDB mult = DiseasesDB2|33167 ICD10 = ICD10|F|68|1|f|60 ICD9 = ICD9|301.51 ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus = eMedicineSubj = med eMedicineTopic = 3543 eMedicine mult =… …   Wikipedia

  • Munchausen syndrome — noun syndrome consisting of feigning acute and dramatic illness for which no clinical evidence is ever found • Syn: ↑Munchausen s syndrome • Hypernyms: ↑syndrome * * * ˈmənˌchau̇zən , ˈmünˌ , ŋˌkau̇ , ŋˌḵau̇ , ˌ ̷ ̷ ˈ ̷ ̷  ̷ ̷ noun or munchausen …   Useful english dictionary

  • Munchausen syndrome — (This is an alternate entry to Munchhausen syndrome with two h s in Munchhausen. Whole medical reports have been written about the Munchausen syndrome incorrectly written with one h.) Recurrent feigning of catastrophic illnesses, a psychological… …   Medical dictionary

  • Münchausen syndrome by proxy — Classification and external resources DiseasesDB 33167 eMedicine med/3544 …   Wikipedia

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy — also Munchausen s syndrome by proxy bī präk sē n a psychological disorder in which a parent and typically a mother harms her child (as by poisoning), falsifies the child s medical history, or tampers with the child s medical specimens in order to …   Medical dictionary

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy — Infobox Disease Name = PAGENAME Caption = DiseasesDB = 33167 ICD10 = ICD9 = ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus = eMedicineSubj = med eMedicineTopic = 3544| eMedicine mult = eMedicine2|ped|2742 | MeshID = D016735 Fabricated or induced illness (FII), or… …   Wikipedia

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy — noun → factitious disease. Abbrev.: MSBP, MBP Also, Munchausen s syndrome by proxy. {See Munchausen syndrome} …  

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy — Psychiatry. a form of Munchausen syndrome in which a person induces or claims to observe a disease in another, usually a close relative, in order to attract the doctor s attention to herself or himself. * * * …   Universalium

  • Munchausen syndrome by proxy — Mun′chausen syn drome by prox′y n. psy a form of Munchausen syndrome in which a person induces or claims to observe a disease in another, usually a close relative, in order to attract the doctor s attention to herself or himself …   From formal English to slang

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