When mommy makes me sick: Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

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By Kotie Geldenhuys 

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was born in 1991 and was still an infant when her mother, Dee, claimed that she suffered from sleep apnoea. By the time Gypsy reached the age of eight, Dee had falsely asserted that she had leukaemia and muscular dystrophy, insisting that she needed a wheelchair and a feeding tube. Over time, Dee continued to invent medical issues for Gypsy, including seizures, asthma and sensory impairments. As a result, Gypsy was subjected to a plethora of medications and required a breathing machine for sleep. She underwent numerous surgeries, such as eye procedures and the removal of salivary glands. Gypsy’s dental health deteriorated, potentially due to medication side effects, salivary gland removal or neglect, leading to the extraction of her teeth. However, the reality was that Gypsy could walk unaided, did not require a feeding tube and did not have cancer. Her baldness was a result of her mother shaving her head. Experts argued that Dee suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a mental illness driving her to fabricate her daughter’s illnesses to garner attention and sympathy for her caregiving efforts. The truth about Gypsy and her mother emerged only after Gypsy had orchestrated the murder of her mother by her online boyfriend in 2015 (Kettler, 2023).


[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: May 2024. This article is available for purchase.]

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