Many residents of the Lehigh Valley may have been falsely accused of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a form of child medical abuse in which an adult deliberately fabricates or induces an illness in a child to get sympathy or attention.

The cause of the false allegations is evidently “systemic overdiagnosis” of medical child abuse by the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), suggests a report by the Lehigh County controller. While the report does not name LVHN, it is the only medical group that handles Munchausen syndrome cases in the region, including Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, according to a news report.

Because of the overdiagnoses, parents and caregivers may have been falsely accused of child abuse and, in some cases, had children taken away from them.

If you feel you were the victim of a false accusation of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Kline & Specter, PC, the largest plaintiffs law firm in Pennsylvania with more than 50 attorneys, including a group that handles child and sexual abuse cases, has the experience and skill to both investigate and litigate cases of false accusations of child abuse. Contact us for a free and confidential review of your case.

The Lehigh County controller’s report noted that from 2017 to 2021 the Northeast region of Pennsylvania had a statistically high number of reported child abuse cases, enough to make that number seem dubious -- 40 percent of the state’s medical child abuse cases despite having just 14 percent of its population younger than 18.

In August 2023, about 70 people attended a meeting of the Lehigh County Commissioners to say they had been affected by false accusations of medical child abuse. All those who testified mentioned LVHN, which operates a facility in Allentown called the John Van Brakle Child Advocacy Center.

High incidences of Munchausen syndrome by proxy have also been reported in other Pennsylvania counties, including Philadelphia, Erie, Warren, Tioga, Northumberland, Franklin and Cumberland counties.

In addition to its group that litigates child abuse cases, Kline & Specter has five lawyers who are also medical doctors – the most of any law firm in the nation. This enables us to quickly and accurately assess cases of child medical abuse. No other law firm possesses such on-staff expertise.