Intervention system for victims of Munchausen by Proxy
One of the problems associated with the existing intervention system for victims of Munchausen by Proxy is that the tribunal requires irrefutable proof before trying a case (Hanon 10). It can be argued that the nature of the issue of Munchausen by Proxy is fragile. Since most instances involve a child six years of age or younger, there is a need for a speedy process. Delays could lead to the child experiencing further harm or in extreme cases, death. In my opinion, if there is suspect of Munchausen by Proxy but the court lacks concrete evidence, the court shall order continued oversight of all medical illnesses and injuries of the victim through Child Protective Services to protect the victim. This would mandate that regular visits from Child Protective Services and oversight of a case worker for all medical problems and visits.
The second problem is that some family members feel the need to protect the perpetrator. There have been cases of the husband lying for the wife to help her avoid punishment. Other relatives can also decide to protect the caregiver once the issue has been identified. In such instances, family members believe that they can solve the problem amongst themselves without involving outside parties (Alexander, Smith, and Stevenson 584). However, the situation can easily get out of hand making it harder to contain. The other reason why some member of the family might choose to protect the perpetrator is to avoid shame and judgment by their community of neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
The third problem with the current intervention system is that doctors are slow at making the diagnosis. Medical practitioners run numerous tests to verify the alleged symptoms before drawing the conclusion that they could be involved with a Munchausen by Proxy case (Alexander, Smith and Stevenson 583). They fail to look at the trend of the victim and the caregiver from other hospitals that would depict the perpetrator's desire to evade notice. Itts hard to arrive at a diagnosis of Munchausen by Proxy unless the perpetrator is isolated. As such, some cases remain unresolved or grow to profound proportions.
The importance of school in determining an instance of Munchausen by Proxy
Regular absences at school might fail to elicit the right curiosity. The school is fundamental in determining an instance of Munchausen by Proxy. However, it should be acknowledged that the victimts problems could easily go unnoticed (Roesler and Jenny 16). When the school calls to inquire about the regular absences of a student, the perpetratorts reply about the childts sickness can be considered sufficient. Over time, the child will be viewed as sickly, and the teachers fail to probe deeper. In my opinion, the current system fails since the teachers do not seek to understand the primary cause of the illnesses and different methods of prevention.
The most dominant problem associated with the current intervention system is the lack of a standard guideline to determine cases of Munchausen by Proxy. Unlike other forms of child abuse such as violence, victimization as a result of the condition is difficult to identify. A child may lack physical bruises that can easily be detected (Kinschereff and Famularo 46). Furthermore, given the tender ages of most victims, they might fail to realize that their caregivers are the cause of their illnesses and distress. The development of a standard guideline will assist all parties to quickly determine if a child is a possible victim of Munchausen by Proxy.
There are a few different ways we can improve the system to better the intervention process. Firstly, the response can be made better by raising suspicion once a child is brought into the hospital several times in the near past. A standard timeframe can be set for approximately two months. The medical practitioners can also agree on a number that defines an excess number of visits. Once this figure has been exhausted, when the suspected perpetrator brings in the child, the medical staff can test the alleged symptoms while observing for signs of Munchausen by Proxy. This initiative would assist doctors to detect the signs early and help both the victims and perpetrators to receive treatment first (Meadow 386).
The medical staff should also follow up with hospitals that have previously been visited by the caregiver and his or her patient to determine if a pattern exists. There have been cases of perpetrators changing hospitals to avoid detection. Once the medical practitioners of a particular hospital are alerted by the suspicious behavior of the aggressor, they move to a new one to avoid notice. The doctors and nurses should strive to determine the reason behind a caregiverts shift in preference once they begin to suspect that he or she suffers from Munchausen by Proxy syndrome (Hanon 10). The trend observed combined with the views of the doctors and nurses of the former hospital attended might assist in early detection.
How to better the intervention system
The medical staff can also install cameras in the room of the suspected victims to observe the activities of the caregivers. Since doctors and nurses are taking caution not to alert the perpetrators of their suspicion, cameras serve as an ideal channel through which the medical practitioners can watch the actions and interaction of the caregiver with the victim. Furthermore, once the details have been captured on camera, the tapes present solid proof on which the case can be built.
The best way to better the intervention system is by educating the community about Munchausen by Proxy. I believe that few individuals outside the medical field have encountered this condition to their knowledge. It remains a mystery to many and individuals does not identify signs and symptoms in both the victims and the perpetrators (Roesler and Jenny 20). People should be educated about the Munchausen by Proxy and how to identify it. In turn, this will lead to earlier intervention and protection of the victim.
The effects of Munchausen by Proxy can be long lasting as those of other forms of child abuse. It can be emotionally scarring to the victim since they undergo cruelty in the hands of theirs, caregivers. Furthermore, it can lead to family and marriage breakage adding to the emotional baggage. It is important to understand the cause of Munchausen by Proxy. Both the victim and the perpetrator will require support to withstand the treatment process and to avoid a relapse in the case of the caregiver.
Alexander, R., W. Smith and R. Stevenson. tSerial Munchausents Syndrome by Proxy.t Pediatrics (1990): 581-585.
Hanon, K. tChild Abuse: Munchausents Syndrome by Proxy.t FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (1991): 8-11.
Kinschereff, R. and R. Famularo. tExteme Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: The Case for Termination of Parental Rights.t Juvenile and Family Court Journal (1992):41-49.
Meadow, R. tFictitious Epilepsy.t Lancet (1984): 8.
tMunchausen Syndrome by Proxy.t Archives of Disease in Childhood (1985): 385-392.
Roesler, T. and C. Jenny. Medical Child Abuse: Beyond Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Washington, D.C.: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009.
Rosenberg, D.A. tWeb of Deceit: A Literature Review of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.t Child Abuse and Neglect (1987): 547-565.
Schreier, H. and J. Libow. Hurting for Love: Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. Guilford, Connecticut: Guilford Press, 1993.
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