This series of blog posts reviews the scientific work in the field of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) by clinician-researchers Drs. Judith Libow & Herbert Schreier. In my recent blog posts in this series, I describe a scientific article written by Libow & Schreier that was essentially attacked in a letter to the journal editor by another clinician-researcher, Dr. Carek. Here, I begin to narrate Libow & Schreier’s counterattack.
Round 1 – Dr. Carek is Anti-child
First, Libow & Schreier defend themselves against the fact that they did not name the condition after Baron Munchausen – someone else did. I’m sure that’s not what Dr. Carek meant by bringing that up. He meant that they perpetuated it by using the term “fable”.
They don’t respond to that, and instead accuse Dr. Carek of the following wacky notion:
Furthermore, we are puzzled that Dr. Carek finds the association of the name “Munchausen” with the adult syndrome “whimsical,” yet he finds it “abasing” when used in the proxy form, since both types of factitious illness take a significant toll on patients’ health and our health care system.
I’m sorry, but that is a downright creepy response. Dr. Carek did not say this at all – he didn’t even talk about Munchausen Syndrome in his letter except to say that it runs in families and people who have it may turn to their children as surrogates. This is based on scientific evidence, and it’s weird that these authors respond by characterizing Dr. Carek as anti-child.
Round 2 – Dr. Carek is Denying the Existence of MSbP
Next, they attack that he used the term “staunch proponents” of MSbP – like they were proponents of the fact the condition exists and he
didn’t believe it. That’s obviously not the case either. He meant staunch proponents of their philosophy about how to deal with MSbP, not whether the condition exists or not. He was basically saying that it exists, and we need better ways of dealing with it. It’s like they didn’t even read the letter.
So Dr. Carek is Anti-child and Denying MSbP Exists? Really?
If these seem like low blows, read my next blog post for Rounds 3 and 4 of the food fight.
Libow & Schreier are Californian – Where is Dr. Carek from?
Medical University of South Carolina – check it out here.