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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
Monday, November 5, 2007
In case you missed it: A mother's battle to be believed
Diana Owen (left, with Bryanna-Rose) told doctors her daughter’s projectile vomiting was getting worse. While sleeping, the mother had said, the child sometimes skipped breaths. Owen worried that her only child might die of an undiagnosed condition, Patricia Wen reports in Sunday's Globe.
Owen came to the chilling realization that she was being accused of making up - or even intentionally causing - her daughter's ailments. From her healthcare background, she had heard of the diagnosis the doctors pinned on her: Munchausen by Proxy, a rare mental disorder in which caretakers fabricate or induce illnesses in their children to gain attention from doctors.
Her daughter was placed into the protective custody of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services. This marked the start of one mother's odyssey to prove her sanity, a task that would require painstaking persistence as authorities clung to their original judgment of her.