Mothers are supposed to genuinely care for their children, providing them with unconditional support and protection. However, there are some unfortunate cases that they are the reasons why their kids suffer just to gain attention. Yes, you heard it right. There are moms who would risk their child’s life, even kill them, just to get the attention they wanted. Unfortunately, this is referred to as a factitious disorder, better known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
According to WebMD, an American corporation known primarily as an online publisher of news and information pertaining to human health and well-being, Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care. This is also a form of abuse in which a person creates illnesses or diseases for their dependent and puts them through unnecessary medical treatment. There are several cases that have been reported for the past years. Here are some examples:
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Dee Dee Blanchard
This is probably the most popular case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Since Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born, her mother Dee Dee Blanchard claimed that she is suffering from several diseases such as sleep apnea, leukemia, muscular dystrophy, and many more. At such a young age, she required a wheelchair and feeding tube. Aside from that Dee Dee claimed a lot of medical problems that Gypsy is suffering such as seizures, asthma and hearing and visual impairments. Thus, a lot of people had helped her by donating money and providing their needs. In June 2015, Gypsy killed her mother after finding out that these were all lies. She also stated that she couldn’t take anymore Dee Dee’s abuse.
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In two years, two of Sally’s Clark died. What’s strange is that both deaths happened inside their home. Thus, investigators suspected that there is something more about what the mother has reported. According to List Verse, publish lists that intrigue and educate, specializing in the bizarre or lesser-known trivia an American news-based pay television channel, Sir Roy Meadow, a famed British pediatrician and expert on MSBP, claimed that the deaths fit the criteria of factitious disorder. According to him, the odds of two babies in the same home dying of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) were one in 73 million.
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For many years, Lacey Spears has been documenting Garnett’s, her five-year-old son, various health struggles on the internet. She showed how she would do anything for her son’s recovery. In return, a lot of people sympathized with her and even offered her help. That’s why everyone was shocked when Spears was convicted for the murder of Garnett. The truth is, she had been secretly poisoning the child with life-threatening doses of salt through a feeding tube. In 2014, Garnett passed away in a New York hospital from toxic amounts of sodium in his bloodstream. Eventually, it was discovered through CCTV footage that she was responsible for his son’s death.
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In 2013, Blanca Montano was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment for her cruel and unusual role in the death of her infant daughter. According to Bustle, an online American women's magazine, her daughter was admitted to the hospital for flu-like symptoms in February 2011. It was found that the child was suffering from nine different and aggravated infections. It turned out that Montano had been infecting her with fecal matter and various other bacteria. The staff of the hospital realized that could be dealing with a case of Munchausen's Syndrome by proxy. They installed a camera in the infant's hospital room where Montano was seen contaminating the baby's IV by sticking it into her own mouth.
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In 14 years, Marybeth Tinning had nine dead babies. This alone sounds so bizarre, however, it took people all those years to become suspicious. According to reports, it all started when Tinning’s eight-day-old daughter, Jennifer, died of spinal meningitis. She received sympathy from a lot of people during that time, which she enjoyed. After that, she soon began killing all of her children. All of the kids died due to seizures or suddenly stopped breathing. The truth is, she was responsible for all of those deaths.
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Lisa Hayden Johnson
Lisa Hayden Johnson’s son was born dangerously premature. Although the infant eventually began to heal, there’s still nothing to celebrate because she claimed that her son was now suffering from a life-threatening food allergy that left him unable to eat. For many years, Johnson has manipulated people into showering her and her son with gifts. Aside from that, she was given free tickets to live tapings, multiple cars and cruises from charity foundations while her son’s life was hooked up to a feeding tube he never needed. Eventually, doctors discovered that Johnson has been fabricating everything. In October 2017, she was arrested on the charge of child cruelty and "perverting the system of justice." However, Johnson was only sentenced to three years in prison.
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For eight years, Jennifer, daughter of Kathy Bush, had been hospitalized over 200 times and had undergone more than 40 medical procedures. She had also suffered several medical problems such as seizures, digestive issues, and a weakened immune system. As a result, some of her internal organs have been removed, including her appendix, gallbladder, and some of her small intestine. Hospital staff reported that her condition gets worse after she was visited by her mother. A nurse also claimed that she had seen Kathy inject her daughter in the mouth with a syringe. In 1999, Kathy was convicted of aggravated child abuse, serving three years of a five-year sentence.