When you’re a parent of a young child, you’re expected to 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.

But why would a mother put her son through something as distressing as surgery when she knew it was entirely unnecessary?

Well, Christopher’s father, Ryan Crawford, is fairly certain that Bowen has Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP). This is an illness which prompts caregivers to concoct a series of symptoms in the person they are looking after to gain attention.

“It started eight days after he was born,” Crawford said.

“Every time that he would drink milk, he would throw it up, or so she [said],” Christopher’s father revealed. “It didn’t make sense because I never saw him throw up any milk.”