A mum who allegedly forced her son to have his appendix out and would frequently dupe him into thinking he was ill has been arrested.
Christine Maxwell, 48, from Enola, Pennsylvania reportedly made her eight-year-old child undertake a number of unnecessary and invasive medical procedures.
She was charged on Tuesday (December 4) with aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and theft by deception after first being arrested back in November.
Police were first notified of the allegations in September.
The mother's behaviour is being described by US media as a likely case of Munchausen's syndrome 'by proxy', a version of the disorder where they deceive someone else into believing that they are sick.
This unusual behaviour is often done for reasons of gaining attention or sympathy.
Court documents show the boy told investigators “my mom tells me when I’m sick", according to local news website PennLive.
The probable cause affidavit details how he had been put through a bronchoscopy because she reported him developing “barky coughs and fevers”, with other recent procedures including X-rays, an appendectomy, and a number of blood tests.
It read: “A bronchoscopy is a test that requires sedation and carries some risk (such as respiratory depression, bleeding, and possible perforation of airway).”
Doctors had repeatedly told Maxwell that her child was developing normally for someone his age, despite her repeated visits, and tests showed the kid did not have any significant health issues.
The court files also described an unnecessary skin biopsy that had been forced upon the boy when she reported him getting bug bites, calling it "an invasive procedure which is completely unnecessary and put him at risk of pain, scarring, infection, and bleeding,”
The boy's dad was placed in charge of his medical care in 2019 after a social worker reported her behaviour.
Maxwell's bail has been set at $20,000. She is due back in court on February 2 for a preliminary hearing.
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