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Int J Dermatol. 2010 Jun;49(6):679-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04188.x.

'Munchausen syndrome by proxy' presenting as battered child syndrome: a report of two cases.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology and Venereology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.



Child abuse is a major public health crisis and is on the rise. Dermatologists are frequently involved in its evaluation in differentiating abusive injuries from accidental injuries and in excluding pathological conditions that may mimic abuse. Battered child syndrome or physical abuse is not only a common form of child abuse but can also result from a rarer form of child abuse known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy. In this form of abuse, mother, who is the usual perpetrator, induces an illness or abuses the child for her own self-serving psychological needs.


We report two cases of battered child syndrome. In both the cases, Psychiatric evaluation was performed on both parents. Observation through one-way mirror was done with the mother and the child alone. Routine hematological and biochemical investigations were done.


Diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy was firmly established in one case and was considered as a possibility in the other.


A multidisciplinary team effort is essential in evaluating such cases, and dermatologists should be aware and be well informed about this condition that can be potentially lethal but easily overlooked.

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