Care taker blogs in caregiver fabricated illness in a child: A window on the caretaker's thinking?

Ana N. Brown, Gioia R. Gonzalez, Rebecca T. Wiester, Maureen C. Kelley, Kenneth W. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Three recently diagnosed cases of caregiver-fabricated illness in a child at Seattle Children's Hospital shed light on a new manifestation of their caretakers' attention seeking. The patients' mothers were actively blogging about their children's reputed illnesses. Although it is not uncommon for parents of chronically ill children to blog about their child's medical course, specific themes in these blogs of parents suspected of medically abusing their children were noted. In particular, gross distortions of the information parents had received from medical providers were presented online, describing an escalation of the severity of their children's illnesses. The mothers reported contacting palliative care teams and Wish organizations, independently from their medical providers' recommendations. They sought on-line donations for their children's health needs. We believe these blogs provide additional direct evidence of the suspected caregivers' fabrications. Although we have not performed formal content analysis, blogs might also provide insight into the caretakers' motivations. Protective Services and/or police investigators could consider querying the internet for blogs related to children at risk for caregiver-fabricated illness in a child. These blogs, if viewed in parallel with the children's medical records, could assist medical diagnosis and legal documentation of medical fabrication and assist in protective planning for the affected children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-497
Number of pages10
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Caregiver-fabricated illness in a child
  • Fundraising
  • Internet fraud
  • Medical child abuse
  • Munchausen by proxy
  • On-line blogging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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