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Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Kaylene Bowen-Wright Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy Case: Putting A Child Through Hell

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

     In 1977, a pediatrician from England published the results of an investigation he had conducted into the cases of 81 infants whose deaths had been classified as either Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or natural death. The study, by Dr. Roy Meadow of St. James University Hospital in Leeds, covered a period of 18 years. His article, "Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: The Hinterlands of Child Abuse," which appeared in the journal Lancet, was shocking in its implications. Dr. Meadow claimed that these 81 babies had in fact been murdered and that the forensic pathologists who had performed the autopsies ignored obvious signs of physical abuse in the form of broken bones, scars, objects lodged in air passages and toxic substances in their blood and urine. He came close to accusing some of these pathologists of helping parents, mostly mothers, of getting away with murder.

     The Munchausen Syndrome, a psychological disorder identified in 1951 by Richard Asher, described patients who injured themselves or made themselves sick to attract sympathy and attention. Asher named the syndrome after Baron von Munchausen, a man known for telling tall tales. Dr. Meadow added "by proxy" because the people gaining sympathy were not hurting themselves. They were getting sympathy and attention by injuring and sickening their infants and children.

     In his landmark article in Lancet Dr. Meadow profiled some of the pediatric cases that had puzzled him in the early 1970s. For example, he was treating a young boy who had extremely high salt levels in his blood that adversely affected his kidneys. Because there was no way the boy could have eaten this much salt, Dr. Meadow came to suspect that the mother, a nurse, was force-feeding salt into the child through a nasal tube. When Dr. Meadow voiced his hypothesis to his colleagues at the hospital they ridiculed him. In this case, however, the boy's mother confessed to exactly what Dr. Meadow had suspected. Her intent had not been to kill her child but to use him as a way to make herself a center of attraction at the hospital, an environment she found exciting and romantic.

     After the publication of Mr. Meadow's shocking article, physicians all over the world sent him accounts of cases similar to the ones he had described in his Lancet piece. Even Dr. Meadow was shocked by some of the stories--cases that involved punctured eardrums and induced blindness as well as inflicted respiratory problems, stomach ailments and allergy attacks. Years later, Dr. Meadow would design a controversial experiment involving hidden cameras in hospital rooms where suspected Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy victims were being treated. Of the 39 children under surveillance, the cameras caught 33 parents creating breathing problems by putting their hands, bodies or pillows over the victim's faces. Staff members monitoring nearby television screens quickly entered the hospital rooms, causing the abusers to discontinue their assaults.

     In the years that followed Dr. Meadow's initial research into these child abuse and infant death cases, he came to believe that the vast majority of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy perpetrators were women, and that one-third of them were either nurses or women who worked in some other capacity in the health care industry. His research also suggested that many of these mothers were married to men who were cold and indifferent, and that at least part of the motive behind making their children ill was an attempt to emotionally energize their spouses. According to Dr. Meadow, many Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy women also enjoyed the attention and sympathy they received from physicians and nurses.

 Kaylene Bowen-Wright

     In 2008, Ryan Crawford and Kaylene Bowen-Wright decided to have a baby together even though they were not in a romantic relationship or even lived under the same roof. Kaylene, a resident of Dallas, Texas, had two children from another man.

     Shortly after Christopher Bowen's birth, Kaylene claimed the infant, because he had been premature, couldn't digest milk. This was untrue and marked the start of an eight-year litany of false illnesses attributed to the boy by a sociopathic, attention-seeking Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy mother who, to feed her own personality disorder, tortured her son and put his life at risk.

     Kaylene Bowen-Wright, over the years somehow managed to convince hospital staffs and doctors that Christopher suffered from muscular dystrophy, cancer, heart problems and seizures that resulted in unnecessary medical procedures, radiation treatments and medicine. All of this unnecessary medical attention and exposure to hospitals led to serious infections in the young patient. There were also horrible side effects from the medication that included blood clots. 

     Early on in Christopher Bowen's ongoing nightmare, his father, Ryan Crawford, although he didn't know why, suspected that the boy's mother was fabricating the boy's medical problems. He tried to intercede on his son's behalf, but the boy's mother did everything she could to keep him out of their lives. In 2011, when the boy was three, his father went to court to gain custody of Christopher. The judge not only denied him custody, he prohibited the father from visiting his son.

     Kaylene Bowen-Wright received the attention and sympathy she craved through her Facebook postings that claimed her son was dying of cancer and would not live to see the age of five. She also started several GoFundMe campaigns and took advantage of the Make-A-Wish foundation. At this point in the child's ordeal he was being fed through a tube and was confined to a wheelchair.

     In 2014, Ryan Crawford came across an article about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and suddenly understood what Kaylene Bowen-Wright was doing to their son. He began reaching out to the authorities in an effort to save his son before she killed him.

     Between 2009 and 2015, Kaylene Bowen-Wright took Christopher to 323 medical facilities in Dallas and Houston. The boy underwent thirteen major surgeries for his nonexistent illnesses. It was a miracle he survived all of this medical treatment at the hands of clueless physicians and surgeons.

     Finally, in 2015, the staff at a Dallas hospital suspected that Christopher Bowen was the victim of child abuse. Someone from the hospital notified a child services agency. The investigation that followed led to Kaylene Bowen-Wright's arrest in November 2017 for the prolonged abuse of her son. The authorities took custody of Christopher Bowen and Kaylene's two other children.

     In August 2019 Kaylene Bowen-Wright pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily injury to her son by subjecting him to unnecessary medical treatment, medication and surgery. She faced a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.

     On October 1, 2019, Dallas County Judge Ernest White, after hearing testimony from Christopher Bowen's father, medical personnel and a Munchasusen Syndrome by Proxy expert, sentenced 36-year-old Kaylene Bowen-Wright to six years in prison.

     Six years in prison for what this woman did to her son during his young life is beyond outrageous. Twenty years behind bars would have been a lenient sentence. No thanks to this child's mother he could have died from her insatiable need for attention. 

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