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When Kelly Turner was arrested and charged with killing her daughter after allegedly pretending the girl had a severe illness for five years, it raised questions about how doctors could have missed signs the child was being abused.

Olivia Gant, 7, died in August 2017 after Turner asked Children’s Hospital Colorado to withdraw nutrition and send her to hospice. Turner was charged with murder more than two years later, after police allege she lied about another daughter’s medical history and investigators questioned whether Olivia truly had been terminally ill.

Medical child abuse, also called Munchausen by proxy or factitious disorder by proxy, involves deceit to get unneeded medical care for a child. Parents’ actions can range from exaggerating a child’s real symptoms to causing illness through poisoning or other means.

Experts said that, while they couldn’t comment on Olivia’s death, medical child abuse is one of the harder things a pediatrician can be asked to diagnose.

It’s rare. There’s no one test to diagnose it. And abusive parents’ behavior doesn’t always look much different from that of well-meaning parents dealing with the stress of raising a seriously ill child.

Full story via Meg Wingerter and Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post 

Medical child abuse — like that alleged in Olivia Gant case — is rare and hard to identify, experts say

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