An example is the " Munchausen syndrome by proxy " theory put forward by Professor Sir Roy Meadow and now discredited.
Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric disorder that causes an individual to self-inflict injury or illness or to fabricate symptoms of physical or mental illness in order to receive medical care or hospitalization.
In a variation of the disorder, Munchausen by proxy (MSBP), an individual, typically a mother, intentionally causes or fabricates illness in a child or other person under her care.
Munchausen syndrome takes its name from Baron Karl Friederich von Munchausen, an eighteenth century German military man known for his tall tales.
Categorized as a factitious disorder (a disorder in which the physical or psychological symptoms are under voluntary control), Munchausen syndrome seems to be motivated by a need to assume the role of a patient.