Medical child abuse and medical neglect are part of a spectrum of conditions that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality in children. Recognition of these forms of child maltreatment is crucial to preventing harm. Medical personnel should have a familiarity with and a framework for diagnosing and treating these 2 entities.

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In 1992, D. M. Eminson and R. J. Postlethwaite published an important paper discussing the range of parental behaviors when interacting with the medical care system. (1) On one end of the spectrum is medical child abuse (MCA) (previously referred to as Munchausen syndrome by proxy [MSBP]), wherein parents exaggerate, invent, or induce symptoms in their children and seek unnecessary medical care for them. On the other end of the spectrum is medical neglect, wherein parents either do not seek necessary care for their children or do...

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