False and Highly Questionable Allegations of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy





Chronic Illness and the Spectre of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.

presented by Dr Helen Hayward-Brown.

The following is a summary of my PHD by chapter headings.

CLICK HERE to access a complete copy of my PHD

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Chapter 1:
An introduction to the key issues involved in deconstructing the medical discourse of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.

Chapter 2:
Beyond Epistemological Pragmatism:
Phenomenology and Post-Structuralism in the context of suffering and illegitimacy. A theoretical chapter which considers the close links between Heideggerian phenomenology and post-structuralism. A consideration of Foucauldian theory of power relations, and feminist critiques of such theory. The use of an integration of theoretical approaches, which are brought together by feminist post-structuralism.

Chapter 3:
Narrative and Illness:
Parents, Illegitimacy and Resistance. This chapter provides an overview of narrative theory in the context of illness. It takes a critical approach towards authors such as Kleinman, who speak in favour of factitious disorder.

Chapter 4:
Methodology chapter (In the field)
An overview of my selection of participants, collection of my data, and analytical techniques

Chapter 5:
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and medical Discourse:
This chapter gives a critical deconstruction of the the discourse of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. It refers to major authors and the key concepts of their 'theories'. It explains the differences between the psychiatric and paediatric versions of MSBP, refers to its scientific invalidity, deconstructs the highly problematic profiling of mothers and looks as typical illnesses which are mistaken for MSBP.

Chapter 6:
False or Highly Questionable Accusations of MSBP Four Case Studies:
The first case study involves a child who suffered gastro difficulties. The second case study involves a number of children who suffered 'failure to thrive'. The third case study involves a child who was later diagnosed with a chromosomal disorder. The fourth case study involves deaths of a number of children and difficulties with the pathology evidence presented to court.

Chapter 7:
The Merged Identity:
This chapter argues that a merged identity between mother and sick child is normal in stressful conditions and is not abnormal or pathological, as indicated by medical professionals.

Chapter 8:
Pathways to Illegitimacy:
Doubt and Certainty This chapter shows how doctors are so certain about their doubt of parents and how parents are so certain that their child is suffering an illness.

Chapter 9:
Pathways to Illegitimacy II: Suspicion and its Corollaries:
Abuse and Punishment This chapter shows how parents are blamed, judged, clear organic symptoms dismissed or trivialised and how medical care may be withdrawn, placing children at risk. It considers systems abuse by medical professionals.

Chapter 10:
Women, Danger and the Myth of the Over-Protective Mother:
This chapter takes a historical and anthropological perspective. It shows that anything ambiguous in a society is labelled polluted. It shows how women are conceived as dangerous, particularly mothers. It gives an overview of psychological theory to show how mothers who are seen to be 'over-protective' are seen as pathological. MSBP accusations are shown to be similar to witchcraft accusations.

Chapter 11:
Draws together key issues in false and highly questionable accusations of MSBP - outlines the ramifications of accusations and key themes in the research.


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