A Texas boy has been to the hospital 323 times and has had 13 major surgeries, but according to his father, nothing was ever wrong with him.
Doctors and Child Protective Services officials now agree with Ryan Crawford, the man trying to get his son back after the boy’s mother subjected him to numerous unnecessary medical treatments, WFAA reported. Ever since the child was born, the boy’s mother, Kaylene Bowen-Wright, has told medical professionals he was unwell.
At various times since his birth, Christopher Bowen has faced various invasive medical procedures from imagined illnesses. He has had a feeding tube attached to his small intestines, he’s used a wheelchair, and been in hospice. Her father and medical professional say it was all unnecessary. His mother also claimed he had cancer and a rare disease. She also said he suffered from seizures, which doctors were unable to detect, according to the WFAA report.
“There has been a long-standing concern for possible medical child abuse by many providers; however, as in the case, this type of abuse is insidious and hard to pinpoint,” Dr. Michelle Thomas wrote in a 2015 report to CPS, via WFAA.
Treatment for some of the supposed illnesses resulted in Christopher having real illnesses. He has had to go into intensive care multiple times for blood infections related to medical treatment he received, WFAA reported.
Investigators think Kaylene Bowen-Wright has a mental condition called Munchausen syndrome by proxy. According to Web MD, Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a form of child abuse where a caregiver makes up illnesses or even induces illnesses in the child themselves. It is considered one of the most deadly forms of child abuse, according to WFAA.
“I just hate that someone took advantage of him, his own mother,” said Ryan Crawford in a video interview by WFAA.
Christopher Bowen, now 8 years old, lives in a foster home, but only after years of court battles on the part of his father. He finally convinced judges something was not right about the way Christopher’s mother was treating him. The 34-year-old mother was arraigned on Dec. 6, and remains in prison for “injury to a child with serious bodily injury,” according to the Star-Telegram.
“She was always saying Christopher was sick. Every single week. Every single month,” Crawford said, via the Star-Telegram. “She would always say, ‘Something’s wrong. He has this. He has that.’ ”
Crawford believes the mother was able to get away with the ruse for years, eventually claiming Christopher was near death, before he was able to convince the courts there was a problem.
“No medical information that I ever had, or any doctors ever had, said that Christopher was dying or said he had some kind of severe illness or disease. She was just able to fool all of the court system and fundraisers, and government assistance,” said Crawford via the Star-Telegram.
CW 33 shows a video clip of a fundraiser in 2014 where children are riding bikes for what is claimed to be a $30,000 yearly medical bill for Christopher. Bowen-Wright is interviewed in the clip about the extremely rare illness that she claims Christopher has. The local fire department and other members of the community can be seen partaking in the event. In the video clip Christopher climbs in and out of a wheelchair and at various times has a breathing tube in his nose.
Bowen-Wright told investigators she doesn’t work so that she can take care of Christopher. She was living off of government assistance. She also said she receives disability funds for Christopher, according to WFAA. A GoFundMe page and a YouCaring page show supposed fundraising efforts for Christopher. Crawford believes money was a motivation for his former girlfriend to put their son through the ordeal.
“Obviously, she was living life for free and off my son,” he said to WFAA.
Crawford said that over the years he has tried to tell judges that the boy does not need all the medical procedures he is going through, but judges never believed him. Instead, a Dallas judged blocked Crawford from seeing his son in 2012, after he told the judge he didn’t believe the boy was dying.
“Every time I went to court, they made me feel like I was the worst human ever,” said Crawford via the Star-Ledger.
“The judge stated that I needed to accept that my son was dying,” he told WFAA.
He believes it’s because judges are predisposed to believing the mother in a family dispute. Only eight years later was he vindicated with the arrest of his former girlfriend and the removal of Christopher, along with two other children, from her custody, WFAA reported.
“Knowing that your son is being injured but you can’t do anything about it is the worst pain,” Crawford said via video to WFAA.
Crawford is now fighting to get his child home with him. He said the courts have denied his requests to take his son out of foster care.
“Out of everything that has happened, the worst thing you can do is put my children in foster care with strangers,” he said to WFAA. “I need my son in my life and my son needs me in [his] life.”
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