A Disease that Makes Mothers Kill Their Children (Part II)

Courtesy of ID

Doctor was baffled, he was told by mother the girl had muscular dystrophy, she couldn’t walk. What he was seeing was everything normal in reports. The girl, a special needs child, was also said to have multiple chronic health conditions, asthma, blood cancer and a brain of 7-year-old. He enquired about medical records of said diseases from mother, to which she answered “They were destroyed in flood”.

This is the story of a girl, kept captive and abused by her own mother for 24 long years of her life. The mother, suffered from a disorder called Munchausen by proxy. It makes patients fake or actually induce real diseases in others, who could be anyone. A pet, a friend, a parent or both, an acquaintance. But almost all of the time, it’s their own children. This continued abuse, if gone unnoticed, leads to the death of victims, like Marybeth Tinning, a mother who killed 8 of her children in the name of caring for them, she was sentenced to 20 years prison time.

Munchausen by Proxy

Image courtesy; Osmosis.org

That is Munchausen by proxy, the other form, Munchausen Syndrome, makes people hurt themselves instead of others. Most people who have any one of these disorders are likely to have the other too.

Munchausen Syndrome

Image courtesy; Osmosis.org

Going back to the case above, the victim named Gypsy, had her head shaved regularly to give her an appearance of a cancer patient, she had her saliva glands removed which caused her teeth to decay, leaving her basically toothless, given ear infections by inserting of tubes and was beaten whenever she did something that showed she was normal.

f633e0ee-bcdd-4085-91d3-cdb33c7befecCourtesy; HBO/Warner Bros.

Courtesy of ID

images (49)Courtesy; Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via Associated Press

This was just the tip of the iceberg, abuse had been frequent and worse throughout Gypsy’s life. In 2011, at a science fiction convention, alone in a corner in her wheelchair, Gypsy thought why she couldn’t have friends like others with same age as hers. This moment was instrumental, it made her resolve to escape her situation but nothing could prepare her or anyone else for what came next. In early days of June 2014, on an unknown date, Gypsy, with the help of Nick Godejohn, her boyfriend she made on internet, murdered her mother by stabbing vigorously multiple times with a knife and fled, intending to marry him.

Gypsy and Nick, in prison

Image courtesy; Shutterstock

Some years later

Image courtesy: Oxygen.com

They were later apprehended by police by tracking the IP address to their Facebook posts. The court acknowledging the severe abuse she went through and the fact she wasn’t the one to assault, sentenced her to 10 years in prison, her boyfriend was sentenced to prison for life and 25 additional years. Many protested against imprisoning of Gypsy, citing she can’t be blamed, she was the real victim. It’s no doubt Gypsy is the victim in this case, but so is her mother according to law.

In prison, Gypsy said, “I feel like I’m more free in prison than living with my mom. Because now, I’m allowed to live just like a normal woman”.

Image; Nathan Papes/The Springfield News-Leader via Associated Press


I love studying these rare disorders, harms caused by them, fatal incidents, and finding cures. Thanks for adding a piece to my knowledge of medicine.

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The deadliest thing is there’s no standard treatment for Munchausen’s syndrome. Only a type of psychotherapy called Psychoanalysis helps to uncover and resolve unconscious beliefs and motivations. Most of the time it can’t be easily diagnosed which gives birth to fatal incidents.

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Happy to have provided you with useful medical information. I too have this curiosity related to weird things, not educational like yours though, just morbid :joy:

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Like most of mental disorders. Good thing it can be restricted with therapy if diagnosed, and those suffering from it can lead a normal life with this help. On a side note, if MBP really intrigues you, you should give HBO series Sharp Objects a go, this disorder is the centre of the plot in it. Show’s hugely entertaining too.

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Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely give it a go after my exams are over.
It intrigued me a lot. :star_struck:

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