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Teen wants visits with 'Munchausen' mom

/ Source: The Associated Press

A teenage girl whose mother was imprisoned for deliberately making her so ill that she was hospitalized 200 times asked a judge Thursday to allow visits between them.

Nancy Gregoire, an attorney who represents 18-year-old Jennifer Bush, told a judge that her client “anguishes over what’s gone on, but she is ready to move on.”

Kathy Bush’s attorney, Robert Buschel, said Bush also wants to reunite with her daughter.

The two have had contact only through letters in recent years. They have not seen one another since 1999, the year Kathy Bush, 47, was convicted of aggravated child abuse and fraud. She was released in June after serving three years in prison.

Prosecutors said the daughter was the victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare form of child abuse in which a parent makes a child ill to gain attention and sympathy for the parent. At trial, they said Kathy Bush gave her daughter excessive doses of seizure medicine and tampered with her hospital feeding machine and medical charts.

Daughter underwent 40 operations

Jennifer Bush underwent about 40 operations before the state began investigating in 1996.

Prosecutor Dennis Nicewander said he did not object to the visits.

“I have spoken to Jennifer several times on this. She has been without a normal family life for 10 years ... I don’t see anything that would lead me to believe there is any sort of risk to Jennifer,” Nicewander said.

Court aides had no indication Thursday when Judge Cheryl Aleman would rule on the teenager’s request.

Kathy Bush, who now lives in Georgia, did not speak with reporters Thursday, except to respond to a question about her 125-pound weight loss and to confirm to a reporter the year she last saw her daughter.

Before the criminal investigation began, Jennifer’s illnesses and mounting medical bills attracted national attention when the girl and her mother visited the White House in 1994 to help lobby for health insurance reform.