A Texas mother has been arrested for allegedly subjecting her 3-year-old daughter to unnecessary medical procedures. Law enforcement and court documents reveal that the mother, Jessica Gasser, took the toddler to over a dozen medical providers across Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio. The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) is urging anyone who has had contact with Gasser to come forward. Authorities believe this case exemplifies Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness where a person feigns illness in someone under their care. Gasser’s arrest follows a months-long investigation prompted by concerns raised by healthcare workers.
The investigation began in February when a liaison from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) alerted the TCSO about a suspected case of medical child abuse at Cook Children’s Medical Center. The liaison, Robin Chavez, discovered that Gasser had previously been reported for similar suspicions by other medical facilities in Texas. Gasser allegedly provided false medical histories to healthcare workers, leading to numerous unnecessary procedures on her daughter, including 28 blood draws. In one instance, Gasser claimed her child was not eating and losing weight, resulting in the insertion of a feeding tube. Medical staff later alleged that Gasser tampered with the tube.
According to court documents, Gasser used social media to deceive her followers, falsely claiming her daughter had rare and life-threatening conditions. She also sought donations through a GoFundMe account to cover the unnecessary medical expenses. Gasser even took advantage of a charity organization, securing a free flight for her and her daughter to the Cleveland Clinic under the pretense of treating a non-existent condition called gastroparesis. However, doctors at two other medical centers had already confirmed that the child did not have this condition.
The TCSO is urging anyone who has had recent contact with Gasser through social media or text messages to come forward. Gasser, who went by the social media handle “MedicalMamaJess,” had thousands of followers. Investigators suspect that she may have manipulated her online presence to further her fraudulent activities. The duration of the abuse remains unknown, but Gasser allegedly sent messages to a friend instructing her to delete all posts related to her daughter’s health.
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