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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2003 Aug;24(4):276-8.

Malingering by proxy: a form of pediatric condition falsification.

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Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.


The deliberate production or feigning of signs or symptoms in a child by a caretaker is well recognized as factitious disorder by proxy, a psychiatric condition commonly reported in the pediatric literature. However, it is not as well recognized that the false illness portrayal may also be the result of a parent instructing the child to malinger. A case report of a 13-year-old patient who feigned an immobile upper extremity for the purpose of obtaining a legal settlement is presented. Physicians are encouraged to make protecting the child from parental or iatrogenic harm a priority. Recommendations for careful confrontation and expedient resolution are made.

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