Medical child abuse, also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, is a mental health disorder that causes a parent or caregiver to fabricate or induce illness in a child. This can be done by either directly causing harm to the child or by making up false information to get medical professionals to treat the child. The motivation is usually attention-seeking.
Medical child abuse is a very serious allegation that can have devastating consequences for the child and the caregiver. In this blog post, we are going to discuss the crime, the consequences, and give examples of real cases in Texas.
If you or a loved one has been accused of medical child abuse in North Texas, it’s imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Police and prosecutors take these cases very seriously and will aggressively pursue a conviction. At Varghese Summersett, our attorneys have vast experience handling child abuse cases – first as specialized child abuse prosecutors and now as highly-skilled defense attorneys.
Medical child abuse – which is commonly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy – occurs when a caregiver (usually a mother) creates or exaggerates medical symptoms in a child to garner attention. In turn, the child undergoes painful and unneeded medical tests, procedures or surgeries. The caregiver’s actions are often the result of a mental illness, which is also referred to as factitious disorder, that causes her to seek attention.
In Texas, there is no statute for “medical child abuse.” It falls under injury to a child, which can be found in Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code. A person commits injury to a child if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence, causes to a child:
Medical child abuse in Texas is punished as injury to a child, which can be a first-degree felony, second-degree felony, third-degree felony or state jail felony. The charge will depend on the severity of the child’s injuries and the caregiver’s mental state and whether the injuries were allegedly inflicted intentionally or knowingly, recklessly or negligently.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on allegations of medical child abuse, it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to find out the severity of the charge and to start building an aggressive defense strategy. These cases usually stem from a mother or caregiver’s mental illness, which we will try to use to mitigate the charges against you.
Yes. In cases of medical child abuse, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (CPS) will likely get involved to investigate the allegations and to ensure that the child is safe. If CPS finds evidence of medical child abuse, they may remove the child from the home and place them in foster care or with another relative while the criminal case is pending.
If you or loved one has been contacted by CPS, it’s important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don’t speak with them without talking first to an attorney.
Medical child abuse case often make headlines. Here’s a look at some North Texas cases in recent years.
If you or a loved one has been accused of medical child abuse, you are not alone. Over the years, numerous North Texas mothers have been accused of this crime. We understand the struggles you are facing and we are here to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today for a free consultation.
At Varghese Summersett, we have some of the most highly-skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys in Texas. Our attorneys have handled thousands of cases, including numerous high-profile and complex cases. In fact, two of our senior attorneys were former chief prosecutors in the Crimes of Against Children Unit at Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office before going into private practice. We know how the other side thinks, which gives us a significant advantage when defending our clients.
Call us today at 817-203-2220 for a free consultation. Don’t wait. The sooner you call, the sooner we can start working on your case. A proactive defense is your best defense.