Tue, Aug 18, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Munchausen proxy mom makes 600 hospital visits

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer

A single mother suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy has taken her three children to hospitals more than 600 times in the past three years, a report published on Sunday in the Chinese-language Apple Daily said.

According to the report the 40-year-old mother is not financially secure and works part-time.

The woman would often take her children to hospital for minor reasons, such as a runny nose or a light cough and exaggerate the severity of the supposed illness, the report said, adding that over the period, each of her children averaged 200 visits to hospitals, which included all the major hospitals in Taipei and New Taipei cities.

When doctors told the woman that her children only needed rest and some medication to make a full recovery, she would make a scene, the report said, adding she would often ask for the doctor to hospitalize the children, ostensibly for further observation, and some doctors who did not want to create a scene agreed to her demands.

The children were usually just put on a bed and were not given intravenous drips, the report said, adding that if one child was hospitalized in such a manner the other two children would wait with the sick child.

In January, after leaving her children at the Zhongxing branch of Taipei City Hospital, the woman returned home, but hospital staff called the Bureau of Social Affairs discovering the youngest child unaccompanied and in a soiled hospital bed, the report said.

Bureau officials have arranged for the children to live temporarily with a foster family on the grounds that the mother left her children at the hospital alone, the report said, adding that officials, after looking into the children’s medical records, were astonished to learn how many times they had been taken to hospitals.

According to the report, the eldest and the youngest children were healthy, but the second child was diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome, with the condition improving following medical treatment.

The mother, diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, has not been consistent with her medication and appointments, the report cited the as saying, adding that the children would stay with the foster family until the woman is considered to have recovered sufficiently.

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