Authorities arrest a Texas woman for felon injury to a child, after she subjected her son to 323 hospital visits and 13 major surgeries.
The child is now eight years old and between 2009 and 2016, he's been in and out of the hospital because his mother insisted that he was severely ill. 34-year-old Kaylene Bowen, suspected to suffer from Munchausen by Proxy, repeatedly convinced doctors that her son needed several medical procedures that were in fact unnecessary.
Munchausen By Proxy
Caregivers with the mental disorder called Munchausen by Proxy often make up an injury or an illness to get medical care for a person close to them, in this case, Bowen's son. Doctor Marc Feldman, an MSBP expert, notes that people with MSBP frequently shop for doctors and hospitals, visiting many emergency rooms within a large area, pleading for medical care. Since they often switch doctors and hospitals, one doctor may not even be aware of the diagnostic tests or procedures already conducted on the patient elsewhere, so they have to perform them again themselves.
According to Feldman, MSBP is among the deadliest forms of child abuse, with a nine percent mortality rate among reported cases. Mothers with MSBP are typically master manipulators and liars, managing to successfully deceive others into believing them.
Texas Mom Arrested
Bowen started taking her son, Christopher, to doctors early on, soon after his birth. Court documents showed that the child has gone through several surgeries and invasive procedures including a feeding tube. His mother even tried to get him on the list for a lung transplant and even signed a Do Not Resuscitate order when he was five.
Doctors eventually started questioning how sick Christopher really was and reported the case to Child Protective Services. After an investigation last month, CPS concluded that Christopher was not ill. The child went through all of those procedures, surgeries, tests, and hospital visits for nothing as he was healthy.
Father Blames Faulty System
Ryan Crawford, Christopher's father, has been trying to get custody of his son and stop this madness but had no success. He failed to convince judges that Bowen was the sick one and not Christopher and he even lost visitation rights because a judge believed the mother.
Crawford said he tried to convince family court judges in Dallas County that his son was fine, but Bowen kept lamenting that Christopher was dying and his father was simply in denial. The father feels the system failed him and allowed this situation to go on for years.
Crawford met Bowen about 10 years ago and they dated on and off for roughly two years, during which Bowen got pregnant. The man says that Bowen started showing signs of MSBP early on, and it only got worse in time. According to him, Bowen acted oddly even during the pregnancy, calling at night pretending that she was in the hospital when in fact she was not. She gave birth to Christopher prematurely, but otherwise, the newborn was healthy.
Crawford adds that Bowen would constantly claim that Christopher would either refuse to drink his milk or would throw it up when he did drink it. In time, the mother's claims regarding her son's health escalated and the alleged illnesses were increasingly severe. She even claimed that her son had terminal cancer, and raised money through crowdfunding pages, claiming that her son needs a lung transplant, leg braces, and heart surgery.
Bowen was arrested last week and her bail is set to $150,000. Christopher is currently in foster care until CPS sorts this out. A hearing will take place next week.