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A Texas mom allegedly subjected her son to 323 doctor visits and 13 unnecessary surgeries
A Texas woman who repeatedly took her healthy 8-year-old son to the hospital has been arrested and charged with injury to a child.
Throughout her son’s young life, 34-year-old Kaylene Bowen had claimed the boy was dying from a rare genetic disorder, fighting cancer and in need of a lung transplant, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Ryan Crawford, the child’s father, said he tried to convince family court judges that his son was not sick, but they sided with the mother.
“It was always the same story: Christopher is dying. The father doesn’t need to be around because he doesn’t know how to take care of him.” Crawford said in an interview with the Telegraph. “Every time I went to court, they made me feel like I was the worst human ever.”
Medical records show Christopher was seen 323 times at various medical centers and underwent 13 major surgeries between 2009 and 2016, according to a Child Protective Services petition. Officials allege Bowen taught her son to say he was sick.
The child had been placed on oxygen and, at times, used a wheelchair. He was also fitted with a feeding tube, which led to life-threatening blood infections. Court documents revealed Bowen placed Christopher in hospice care around the time she attempted to get his name on the lung transplant list.
Bowen also created a page on Youcaring.com to cover medical expenses. She raised more than $8,000 in donations.
Medical staff at a Dallas hospital alerted authorities to Bowen after determining her son didn’t have cancer or many of the symptoms she had alleged, according to the Telegraph.
In one instance, doctors told CPS that Bowen claimed the boy had suffered a seven-minute seizure, but an EGG machine showed no such activity. When they reached out to another hospital in Houston where Christopher received treatment, they learned hospital staff there was also suspicious about Bowen.
The complaint prompted a CPS review and criminal investigation.
Officials removed Christopher and his two half-siblings from Bowen’s care last month. The 8-year-old was admitted to a hospital where he had no seizures and no need for a feeding tube, according to an affidavit obtained by the Telegraph.
Although not formally diagnosed, the allegations against Bowen fit the model of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a person exaggerates or creates medical symptoms to gain attention.
Bowen remains in Dallas County jail on $150,000 bond following her Dec. 6 arrest.