“Neglect of a child” in New Jersey includes failing to provide the child with “proper” “medical attendance or surgical treatment.” “Cruelty to a child” includes “any willful act” that causes the child to suffer unnecessary physical or mental pain. A parent or caregiver who repeatedly subjects a child to unnecessary medical procedures or treatments can thus be accused of child neglect or child cruelty in New Jersey.
When a parent or caregiver does this to a child – sends them to doctors, insists that the child has symptoms that the child does not – the result can be painful, traumatizing, and dangerous for the child. In cases where this happens, the parent or caregiver may be suffering from a mental disorder that causes them to fabricate symptoms that they claim the child is suffering. The sad effects of this disorder – the unnecessary procedures or treatments – happen to the child.
The former name for this mental disorder was Munchausen's By Proxy syndrome, with the “by proxy” reflecting that the effects of the disorder (the unnecessary medical treatments) happen to someone other than the person who is suffering from it. Healthcare professionals now refer to this as “factitious disorder imposed on another.” No matter what the name, it is a heartbreaking disorder where, in cases where children are affected, a parent or caregiver repeatedly but falsely claims that the child is suffering from symptoms of an illness or injury. In addition to subjecting the child to unnecessary medical evaluations, this can sometimes result in the child undergoing procedures or treatments for problems that do not exist. In other cases, it may result in the child not receiving the actual medical or psychological care that the child really needs.
What to Do if You're Suspected of Factitious Disorder Child Abuse
If you are accused of child abuse and are suspected of subjecting a child to unnecessary medical treatment, you first need the help of an experienced attorney who can make sure that your rights are respected during what is typically a very invasive and uncomfortable investigation process. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team understand how child abuse investigations work, what your rights are in these situations, and how to defend against any child abuse charges that may result.
They also know that if the abuse allegations stem from a psychological issue that may be affecting you, one of your best responses may be to acknowledge the possibility and seek a professional evaluation, and, where necessary, get help.
Of course, not every accusation of factitious disorder abuse is accurate. Children sometimes have physical or mental conditions that are difficult to diagnose, and doctors and psychologists don't always get things right the first (or second, or third) time. If you've been unjustly accused of factitious disorder child abuse, Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team will do everything in their power to help you fight these allegations and clear your name.
How Joseph D. Lento Can Help if You're Accused of Factitious Disorder Child Abuse
If you are facing the difficult allegation that you are abusing your child as a result of a factitious disorder imposed on another syndrome, don't try to defend yourself alone. You need the help of an experienced, caring attorney who understands the law, the court procedures, and the defenses possible in these very difficult cases. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team have the background, understanding, and willingness to help you protect your rights and, where necessary, to help you get the help you may need.
You can reach Joseph D. Lento by phone at 888.535.3686, or can use this online link to set up a confidential consultation with the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team. For your own sake and for your child's, reach out today. The Lento Law Firm Team is here to listen and to help.