Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Medical Kidnapping

The most notorious case of alleged medical kidnapping nationally involved Justina Pelletier, who had a rare mitochondrial disease. When doctors at one hospital determined it was psychosomatic, her parents tried to send her to a different hospital. The first hospital called in Massachusetts Department of Child Welfare case workers, and a judge’s order kept Pelletier away from her parents for 16 months. 
The most notorious case of medical kidnapping in Arizona was Melissa Diegel. Diegel was accused of something very similar to Munchhausen by proxy, a condition in which a caregiver makes up, or causes “an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability,” according to the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Except she didn’t have Munchausen, said Sherwyn. Diegel’s case was featured on the website Medical Kidnap (which tracks these kinds of cases nationally), as well as covered locally. Diegel told The Daily Caller that she has not seen her two children since 2016; she said she has spoken to numerous parents who have had their children taken in similar fashion by Arizona DCS. 
The potential to use of Munchausen by proxy as legal leverage may be a national phenomenon. In California, attorney Shawn McMillan has won multiple lawsuits after child welfare in California took children illegally, accusing the mother of Munchausen. (Read more.)

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