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Medical Child Abuse

Medical child abuse is a term that has come into use in recent years. It refers to a child receiving unnecessary and or even harmful care as a result of a parent exaggerating symptoms, fabricating physical findings or intentionally inducing illness in the child.

While nearly everyone agrees that this type of parental behavior may take place on rare occasions, accusations of medical child abuse have risen sharply in recent years, and there have been numerous situations in which families feel they have been wrongly and unfairly accused. Families affected by rare diseases that are complex, little known and difficult to diagnose are particularly vulnerable to this accusation.

 

 

Collaborative Partnerships

NORD believes strongly in the importance of a true partnership among patients, their families and their healthcare providers. We encourage a collaborative approach in which patient advocates and medical professionals address this issue together to:

  • Promote proactive communication between families and medical professionals regarding care for children with complex medical issues
  • Assure a clear and consistent definition of medical child abuse
  • Develop a clear and consistent pathway for action when medical child abuse is suspected

Resources on Medical Child Abuse

Resources from NORD Members

The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders provides a webpage of information for caregivers on “Easing Parents’ Fears of Child Protective Services.”
View the online resource here.

MitoAction provides a webpage of information on Medical Child Abuse and additional resources, including podcasts and videos, for parents to better navigate the medical system and feel more equipped to respond to such claims should they arise.
View the online resources here.

UMDF provides informational resources on their website for parents and/or relatives of an affected child so that they can be the best advocate for the treatment and care of their child in a medical setting.
View the online resources here.