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Texas mother suspected of subjecting son to 13 surgeries

Kaylene Bowen and her son Image copyright youcaring.com
Image caption Kaylene Bowen claimed her son had a rare genetic disorder and cancer and needed a lung transplant

A Texas mother has been arrested after taking her son to hospital 323 times in what the child's father says is a case of Munchausen by proxy.

Kaylene Bowen's son, who is now eight years old, underwent 13 unnecessary major surgeries, say police.

The boy was removed from the 34-year-old mother's custody after Dallas hospital staff alerted authorities.

Munchausen by proxy is a syndrome in which a person repeatedly exaggerates medical symptoms to get attention.

Ms Bowen, who denies the charges, claimed her son had a rare genetic disorder and cancer and needed a lung transplant.

Image copyright Dallas County Sheriff
Image caption Kaylene Bowen is charged with inflicting injury to a child

In his brief life, the boy - whom the BBC is not naming - has been placed on oxygen, given a wheelchair and a feeding tube, report local media.

He has suffered three life-threatening blood infections amid all the invasive medical treatment, according to a court affidavit cited by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

But medical staff have ultimately concluded there is nothing wrong with the child.

The child's father, Ryan Crawford, told the Star-Telegram he had long suspected the mother.

"She was always saying [he] was sick," he told the newspaper. "Every single week. Every single month."

Mr Crawford, who was in an on-off relationship with Ms Bowen before she became pregnant, told the newspaper how he mounted years of court battles for parental custody, while paying $600 (£450) a month in child maintenance.

According to him, Ms Bowen would tearfully tell judges: "The father doesn't need to be around because he doesn't know to take care of him."

The mother is in Dallas County Jail charged with inflicting injury to a child.

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