View Full Version : Need to do a little research on Munchhaussen

10-27-2015, 05:32 AM
I am currently doing a little research on Munchhausen by proxy for a fictional story that I am writing. The character in my story has munchhausen and she makes her husband and daughter sick.

I tried searching Yahoo to figure out how people with munchhausen make others sick. Do they use poison or another way? What is the most common thing that they use to make their victims sick?

I need all the information I can get on Munchhausen.

10-27-2015, 01:54 PM
She has Munchausen Syndrome by proxy if she's making others sick.

You may simply need to think this through - what condition(s) does she want to fake in her husband and daughter? That will tell you what symptoms she needs to reproduce. Once you know what symptoms you need to fake, you can start to research how to produce those.

You can also try your library or a search on PubMed (since this is a medical condition).

10-27-2015, 04:13 PM
It would be unusual for a person with MSbP to make two members of the household sick at the same time, at least in my experience as an RN. In one case, the mother started inventing vague symptoms she claimed the child was having. When doctors told her the child was fine, or that they did not find evidence of the "disease" she claimed her child was suffering from, she switched doctors. What was particularly dangerous about this mother was that she was an educated, highly intelligent woman. She researched the heck out of medical conditions and was poisoning her child to display the symptoms that would mimic a very obscure disease. She claimed all the doctors were wrong, and her poor child was on the verge of death constantly. The truth was, there was no disease. The mother craved the attention. Every facebook post she made was some long, drawn-out drama about how sick her poor child was, and then there would be hundreds of comments about "what a strong mother you are!!", and the mother ate it up.
When the child became school age and started spending long amounts of time away from the mother, the symptoms miraculously disappeared. However, the mother turned her attention to the younger son, who developed another obscure disease that only the mother was an expert on, and the mother home schooled him to keep him under her control. It took years to link it all together and discover what was going on. She was very smart in that respect, shutting out any doctors or family members that ever questioned her, including her own mother-in-law who dared question the child's supposed "deathly peanut allergy" (which did not exist).

10-27-2015, 04:55 PM
This isn't going to be something with a "most common poison." Each case is going to depend on the person in question, and what they have available to them, along with their level of medical knowledge.

10-27-2015, 05:53 PM
I suspected my MIL of Munchausen, not by proxy, but on herself, so I ended up doing a lot of reading on it. (She faked terminal cancer. Not a good episode. Part of the reason she moved out of the state and never visits any more.)

People who have this are often well educated in medical terminology, and knowledgeable about medicines and diseases. (MIL used to be a nurse.) It's often the child or spouse of a doctor, someone with medical training of their own, or maybe the sibling of someone who spent a lot of time being hospitalized. It's an oversimplification to say they're doing it for attention, because it's more deep-seeded, but that's essentially what it comes down to. They want to be thought the perfect, strong, supportive, loving parent, and it's most often mothers.

When the proxy version presents, some kind of toxin is often employed. The person will often try to moderate the toxin level to make the other person sick, but not kill them. However, that's not the only way it presents. Sometimes, it simply faking lab results by contaminating samples, heating up a thermometer, withholding medications, pulling out their hair, creating irritations in their eyes and mucous membranes with salt or another substance, watering down infant formula to create crankiness and weight loss. Anything that can make a person appear sick can be tried.

As mentioned, it would be unusual for one person to be poisoning more than one family member. However, if the husband had begun questioning the child's illness then it might be a way to try and cover up her wrongdoing, either by making the husband so sick he can't fight her, or by showing him and the world the symptoms are "real."

With my MIL, eventually, people began questioning her story, and every time someone brought it up, she would manufacture a new symptom. First she was just feeling too tired to do anything. Then, the next time she came over, her hair was gone and she was wearing a head scarf. Then she bought a bunch of clothes that were too big so she could simulate weight loss due to chemo and ask for help cooking. She never wore makeup, until she was "sick" and started wearing base that was several shades too light and slightly yellow (But with no experience, she was very bad at blending it. It was TOTALLY obvious.)

In my reading, it's usually the same thing in the proxy version. It starts small, but escalates with each rejection or question. They have to keep piling lie upon lie to cover up the last one.

10-27-2015, 06:05 PM
You might want to have a look at the book Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood , by Julie Gregory, where she recounts her own experience of being the proxy. I found it very interesting (and disturbing), though I don't recall all the details of the mother's actions now.

10-29-2015, 05:56 AM
My girlfriend dealt with a case of this in her job as a social worker. The case was extremely complicated legally because you have to prove that the person with MSbP is responsible for causing the illness or symptoms in their kid.

The mother in question would disconnect feeding tubes from her child, which kept them from getting enough nutrients to actually fight the real illness they had. There are lots of childhood illnesses with a good prognosis that can be kept from getting better by giving the kid the wrong dosage of medicines, dragging the kid to yet another specialist to run extensive tests that may be rough on the kid's system. Some bedrest is needed but many illnesses won't get better if you are confined to total bedrest. Since it's a kid, they can't really argue with mom that they are fine and should go out and play.

Psychologically, treating someone as if they are on the verge of death and any little setback is a sign that they are mortally ill is a good way to keep them scared and feeling sick or hopeless. No organic poisons are needed when you can poison their mind and outlook.