A Texas mother who took her healthy son to hospital more than 320 times for multiple unneeded surgeries has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Kaylene Bowen-Wright was found guilty of fabricating her son's illnesses, resulting in him receiving unnecessary medical treatments and 13 surgeries despite being perfectly healthy.
Bowen-Wright, 36, was sentenced on Friday (local time) in Dallas after pleading guilty to recklessly causing injury to a child in August.
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Investigators said Bowen-Wright's now 10-year-old son, Christopher, spent the first eight years of his life being taken in and out of hospital.
His mother claimed Christopher had numerous health problems, including cancer, seizures, heart issues and muscular dystrophy, reports local news outlet NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
He was exposed to radiation, contracted sepsis more than once and suffered blood clots from the procedures, reports the outlet. He also had a feeding tube inserted by doctors and was put in a wheelchair.
Christopher and his two siblings were removed from their mother's care in late 2017 after medical professionals, who noticed signs of medical child abuse, reported the family to Child Protective Services. Bowen-Wright was also arrested.
It is believed the 36-year-old may suffer from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare mental illness found in those who fabricate symptoms of illness for a person in their care.
"Munchausen syndrome by proxy is... a form of abuse where a person either fakes or produces symptoms in someone else, usually their child," according to Victoria State Government's Better Health Channel.
"It was too much manipulation, too many lies," Christopher's father, Ryan Crawford, testified on Friday.
"It was just one thing after another."
The case has drawn criticism and speculation from social media users, with many highlighting medical malpractice.
"How do doctors [perform] surgery and have him go through treatment without doing tests on him first... how did they know what they were operating on," one person said on Facebook.
"The mother and all the medical staff involved should be accountable. It doesn't make sense."
"What doctors would perform surgeries without any proof of an illness present... doctors should be held accountable," wrote another.
Christopher is now in his father's care and is reportedly doing well.