When you’re a parent, especially the parent of a young child, you’ll do everything you can to keep your little one out of harm’s way. Children are defenseless and vulnerable and that’s why it’s tempting to mollycoddle them in a bid to keep them safe.
Parents of sick children often blame themselves. They find it difficult to deal with the fact their child’s health is out of their hands, knowing that, if it was possible, they would have done anything to prevent them from falling ill in the first place.
However, 34-year-old Kaylene Bowen from Dallas, Texas, is no ordinary parent.
Bowen was arrested last week after it emerged that she put her son through hundreds of unnecessary doctor’s visits and 13 invasive surgeries. She managed to convince doctors that her eight-year-old son, Christopher, was terminally ill when he was, in fact, perfectly healthy.
Bowen claimed that Christopher had terminal cancer, needed a lung transplant, had a milk allergy, and suffered from a number of other illnesses. She even went as far as starting crowdfunding pages so that she could afford her son’s medical treatments.
Two years ago, doctors from the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas started becoming suspicious of the boy’s constant illnesses. At some point, they even reported their suspicions to Child Protective Services, according to a report by NBC Dallas Fort-Worth.
“She started explaining to the judge that the doctors stated my son would never walk,” Crawford, the boy’s father, explained. “And then she stated that he had problems continuing to eat and that he’s going to need a feeding tube.”
“I was horrified,” he said. “Because from what I knew, my son was fine. He just needed – not even extra care – he was fine.”
In spite of the suspicions which were reported to Child Protective Services (CPS), no further action was taken and doctors continued to treat him.
Crawford, who has not been in a relationship with Bowen for years, said he tried to inform the authorities that she was faking Christopher’s illness.
“I blame [myself] for the simple fact that if I was there from the beginning for my son, he would never have had to go through these issues,” he said.
“I tried over and over and over to convince people that my son wasn’t sick and that she was manipulating the system. It didn’t work. Nobody believed me. He could have died,” Crawford said. “Only God saved him.”
Bowen’s schemes all came to an end last month when Bowen brought her son to the Children’s Medical Center and claimed that he had just had a seizure. However, when medical tests were conducted on the eight-year-old, there was absolutely no evidence that it had happened.
It was only then that a criminal investigation and a Child Protective Services review went underway. According to a CPS caseworker’s report on the investigation, “the doctors do not find Christopher to be sick.”
“I’m still fighting the system,” Crawford said. “The system doesn’t want to give me my son because they say I don’t know him. But then when I question, well, he doesn’t know his foster family [either], they say, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ That’s all they say.”