A Texas woman named Kaylene Bowen has admitted to faking an illness for her healthy son and putting the boy through a total of 13 major surgeries — none of which he ever needed. She will now face the possibility of spending decades in prison.
The 35-year-old pleaded guilty earlier this week to recklessly causing injury to the boy, who is now 10-years-old. As the New York Post noted, Bowen admitted that she began taking son Christopher to unnecessary doctors appointments starting when he was just 11-days-old, eventually taking the boy to more than 320 visits to hospitals and doctors offices.
The Dallas mother then held a series of fundraisers for the boy claiming that he was suffering from cancer and a rare genetic disorder, the report noted, all while putting him through a series of rigorous medical procedures.
“By the time he was 8 years old, the boy had undergone the more than a dozen major surgeries and was confined to a wheelchair, according to prosecutors. Authorities allege that Bowen committed crimes that appeared to fit the description of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a caregiver lies or exaggerates a child’s medical symptoms to get attention,” the report noted.
The unnecessary procedures nearly claimed the boy’s life, The Dallas Morning News reported. He twice suffered life-threatening blood infections that required him to be placed in intensive care and suffered a serious injury from the ongoing radiation he underwent to treat the non-existent cancer. The boy also had trouble eating and participating in everyday activities because of the effect of the treatments, the report noted.
Bowen was reported to child protective services two years ago when staff at a Dallas hospital reported that the boy did not have cancer and was not exhibiting any of the symptoms that his mother had claimed.
Bowen’s guilty plea has generated national coverage, with many pointing fingers not only at the mother but at the medical providers who continued to administer unnecessary and rigorous treatments to the boy without determining that he was never actually sick, and also the child protective services system for not stepping in sooner to remove the boy from her care.
— Scallywagandvagabond (@ScallywagNYC) August 18, 2019
The boy is now in the custody of his father, where he has recovered and is no longer confined to a wheelchair. Kaylene Bowen faces up to 20 years in prison for her child abuse plea and will be sentenced on October 11.