Dallas, Texas, USA : Kaylene Bowen-Wright, the woman accused of subjecting her eight-year-old son to 13 major surgeries and 323 hospital visits he did not need, appeared in court for a Child Protective Services, CPS, hearing on the case Monday.
In November, Christopher and his two siblings were removed from their mother’s care after she came to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. She claimed her son had suffered a massive seizure.
Doctors could find no seizure activity on the EKG. Court records indicate that doctors were concerned that Bowen-Wright may have given him something to induce a seizure so they reported it to CPS.
Christopher is now in the custody of his father, Ryan Crawford. Crawford, who spoke before the hearing, said Christopher is doing well and no longer believes he is dying. He said a feeding tube – known as a G-Button – has been removed.
“He’s healthy,” Crawford said. “He hasn’t had any complications.”
During the hearing before Associate Judge C. Andrew Ten Eyck, an attorney representing Bowen-Wright in the CPS case complained that Crawford had made disparaging remarks about Bowen-Wright on social media and to the media. The attorney, Lindsey McKay, said there had been “great exaggerations and fabrications” made in the case. She denied her client had tried to get Christopher on a lung transplant list.
She told the judge that a pediatrician who had seen Christopher for six years could attest to his “complex” medical needs. She said the pediatrician had requested full time nursing care for Christopher back in October. She raised concerns about what would happen if he began losing weight.
“If he falls too far behind, it’s difficult for him to catch back up,” McKay told the judge.
She asked that a special medical guardian be appointed, a request the judge denied after hearing from CPS and the guardian who all said it was unneeded. A CPS attorney told the judge said that were enough “eyes on this child to ensure he is being provided appropriate medical care.”
Crawford’s attorney, Shannon Pritchard, said during and after the hearing that she would very much like to question the pediatrician under oath.
As a result of McKay’s complaints about Crawford, it was agreed that he would remove all posts about the case from social media and no longer give interviews to the media while the case is pending.
Attorneys involved in the case told the judge that the other two siblings are doing well. They are now in the custody of their fathers.
Bowen-Wright is barred from having any contact with her children. She has been attending parenting and counseling under orders from the court.
According to investigators, Christopher suffered three life-threatening blood infections caused by the unnecessary medical procedures he underwent.
Police and CPS said Christopher’s mother, Kaylene Bowen-Wright, repeatedly lied to doctors, which led to 13 major surgeries and 323 hospital visits. Investigators said she convinced the boy he was dying and called it a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver makes up an illness or injury to get medical care.
Doctors and CPS investigators involved in the case now say there was nothing wrong with Christopher and he never needed a feeding tube or oxygen or many of the medically invasive procedures he underwent.
“Obviously, this is a unique case but I think that common sense is going to tell you there’s going to be two sides to the story based on the amount of doctors involved and procedures that were done,” said Hyde, Bowen-Wright’s attorney.
Crawford and his family have said they long suspected that Bowen-Wright was lying when she claimed Christopher was near death.
Ryan Crawford said in a prior interview that a family court district judge stripped him of his visitation rights in 2012 because he refused to accept that his son was dying. He hired an attorney in 2014 and tried to get the judge to reconsider. He said the judge refused to even look at the medical records that showed his son wasn’t sick.
Bowen-Wright isn’t allowed contact with Christopher or his two siblings. She faces a charge of injury to a child. She has not yet been indicted by a grand jury.
Bowen-Wright did not comment, but one of her attorneys did.
“At the end of the day, you will be able to see that Ms. Bowen was an attentive mother doing what she thought was best for the kids and relied on the opinions of a bunch of others,” said attorney Heath Hyde, who is representing her in the criminal case.
EARLIER: Kaylene Bowen-Wright : Mom Arrested After Son’s 323 Hospital Visits, 13 Surgeries – 34-year-old Kaylene Bowen-Wright, a Texas mom has been arrested after authorities allege her 8-year-old son, Christopher Bowen, had hundreds of unnecessary hospital visits – 323 times in Dallas and Houston between 2009 and 2016 – and 13 surgeries.
Kaylene Bowen-Wright was arrested and charged with injury to a child with serious bodily harm last week, according to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office.
The tipping point came last month, when Kaylene Bowen-Wright brought him to a Dallas hospital, claiming he had a seizure.
The medical staff reported seeing a “general and full shake,” but could find no evidence of a seizure, officials reported.
That led them to suspect that his symptoms may have been caused intentionally, and they alerted Child Protective Services — the second such report since 2015.
“I am very concerned that mother has moved from exaggerating symptoms to inducing symptoms,” Dr. Suzanne Dakil reportedly wrote in the CPS petition.
Investigators believe the medical abuse began when Christopher was only 11 days old in 2009.
Medical records show Christopher saw the doctor 323 times in Dallas and Houston between 2009 and 2016, according to the CPS petition.
In his short life, Christopher was placed full time on oxygen and used a wheelchair at times. He had a feeding tube outfitted directly into his small intestine, which resulted in three life-threatening blood infections, according to reports.
Bowen-Wright had him in hospice care before and even tried to get him on the lung transplant list.
A YouCaring fundraiser two years ago, which raised more than $8,000, said the young boy was battling a severe case of arteriovenous malformation.
“Diagnosed at the age of two, the congenital condition is slowly taking the wind out of the sails of this bright and active boy,” the campaign reads.
Doctors determined Christopher does not have cancer or many of the symptoms his mother alleged. In fact, medical staff deemed a majority of his procedures unnecessary, according to the Star-Telegram.
The child’s father, Ryan Crawford, told reporters that he tried to persuade Dallas County Family Court judges that his son was not sick.
“How do you do 13 surgeries? How do you do it?” he asked. “How do you do 13 surgeries and not question the fifth surgery? The sixth surgery?”
Since being removed from his mother’s care, Christopher eats regularly, has had no seizures, feeding tubes, oxygen or an IV, officials said.
Crawford is currently looking to get custody of Christopher, who, along with his two half-siblings, was removed from her care and placed in foster care.
“It’s horrible for my son, or any kid because obviously, my son is not the only one that has had to go through this type of torture,” Crawford said.
Investigators think the case is one of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver makes up an illness or injury to get medical care.
“They doctor shop and hospital shop,” says Dr. Marc Feldman, a nationally recognized expert on the disorder. “They often frequent many emergency rooms over a wide geographic area. One doctor may never know that medical procedures or diagnostic tests have already been performed elsewhere, so it happens again and again and again.”
Feldman believes that the disorder is underreported. He says there is a nine percent mortality rate among published reports – making it one of the most lethal forms of child abuse.
“These mothers tend to be master deceivers and liars,” Feldman said. “They’re very skilled at what they do.”
Crawford and Bowen-Wright met at a club about a decade ago. They dated on-and-off for about two years.
He says there were early signs when she was pregnant that something wasn’t right. She would call in the middle of the night and claim to be in the hospital.
Christopher was born prematurely, but otherwise healthy, he said.
He recalls that Bowen-Wright constantly claimed that Christopher would not drink his milk and would throw it up when he did. Over time, her claims about Christopher’s medical problems became more and more outlandish.
The more he questioned Christopher’s medical issues, the less she was willing to let him see his son, he says.
At points, Crawford represented himself in custody proceedings. He says he tried to tell the judge that his son was not sick, but the judge believed his ex.
In 2012, he says Lori Hockett, a family court district judge, stripped him of his visitation rights because he refused to accept that his son was dying.
“Every single [time] she went into [the] courtroom, she would say Christopher is dying,” Crawford said. “The judge stated that I needed to accept that my son was dying and I said, ‘No, I’m not going to accept that my son was dying’ and she took away from my visitation.’”
In 2014, Bowen-Wright hired an attorney and tried to get full custody of their son. Crawford says he obtained medical records showing his son was not sick. He says the judge refused to even look at the records and dismissed his motion.
“It makes me feel as if the system wants to believe the mother all the time in situations, when the father is there fighting,” Crawford said.
Hockett is not currently a judge. She told the Star-Telegram in an email that she could not comment on Crawford’s allegations.
Through it all, Crawford says he continued to pay his $600 a month in child support.
Crawford says he complained to CPS twice and his aunt complained to CPS once. CPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales said the agency has no record of the complaints.
In 2015, Dr. Michelle Thomas reported her concerns to CPS about Bowen-Wright. In a letter, she wrote that there had been “a longstanding concern for possible medical child abuse by many providers.”
When CPS investigated, Bowen-Wright told the investigator she was filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
“The allegation of medical neglect of Christopher Bowen … is ruled out,” CPS concluded. “All of Christopher’s needs are being met.”
Crawford is fighting to get his son back. He is in the process of trying to hire an attorney to help him, but he knows he could be in for an expensive fight. Crawford’s co-workers have set up a GoFundMe to help him.
“Out of everything that has happened, the worst thing you can do is put my children in foster care with strangers,” he says. “I need my son in my life and my son needs me in [his] life.”
He believes money was Bowen-Wright’s motivation, and he wants her to go prison for life.
“Obviously, she was living life for free and off my son,” he says.
Crawford blames the system – the judges, the doctors, and CPS – who he says failed to keep his son from eight years of misery that he never should have had to endure.
Crawford has seen his son twice since he was put in foster care.
“He looked as if nothing had ever happened to him,” he says. “He’s a blessing. God has watched over him.”