A Pennsylvania mother forced her 8-year-old son to undergo a litany of unneeded medical procedures, including an appendectomy and colonoscopy, police said.
Christine Marie Maxwell, 48, is facing charges including aggravated assault of a victim under 13 after East Pennsboro Township police got a report of suspected child abuse due to Munchausen syndrome by proxy in September 2019, department officials said Tuesday.
Maxwell, of Enola, allegedly fabricated her son’s symptoms and illnesses that required him to undergo “many medical procedures and tests” that weren’t necessary, police said.
“My mom tells me when I’m sick,” the boy told investigators, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by PennLive.com.
Maxwell, who was charged in November, subjected the boy to procedures ranging from an electrocardiogram to an appendectomy, as well as a colonoscopy, ultrasounds, repeated blood draws and pulmonary function tests, the affidavit states.
The procedures were completed despite physicians telling Maxwell that her son was developing normally. A biopsy on the boy’s skin was completed after she insisted he developed bug bites and needed a bronchoscopy due to “barky coughs and fevers,” according to the affidavit.
“A biopsy is an invasive procedure which is completely unnecessary and put him at risk of pain, scarring, infection and bleeding,” police said in court documents.
A bronchoscopy, meanwhile, requires patients to be sedated and carries risks like respiratory depression and a perforated airway, cops said.
Both of the completed tests indicated nothing was wrong with Maxwell’s son, court documents show.
The boy was removed from Maxwell’s custody after cops got the initial report in September 2019, PennLive.com reported. He has been healthy since that time and his father is now in charge of his medical care.
“This abusive behavior has impacted [the boy’s] development by limiting his activity, leading him to believe that he is ill when he is not, and causing him to miss school days unnecessarily,” cops wrote in the affidavit.
None of the diagnoses Maxwell’s son ultimately received needed “such an extensive amount of consultation” from numerous doctors and specialists, cops said.
A judge set Maxwell’s unsecured bail at $20,000 last month, court records show. She’s due in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 2. A message seeking comment from her attorney was not immediately returned early Wednesday.