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Texas mom, Monika Burgett, faked son’s cancer – Impostor convinced doctors, husband and family she was a physician, raised donations on non-existent tumor

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Cincinnati mom Monika Burgett, faked son’s cancer, lied about being a doctor
Her preschool-age son was treated by a hospital with opioids and received unnecessary medical care after she pretended to be a doctor and falsely claimed he had cancer
Burgett, 39, also used the GoFundMe fundraising website to raise $40,000 on his behalf of 3-year-old
Burgett had the boy’s eyebrows and head shaved and then took photos of him to post on the site, Flanagan said.
Burgett has been charged with a child abuse, felonious assault and telecommunications fraud

A Hamilton County prosecutor told jurors Tuesday at the trial that Burgett, 39, convinced doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that she was a doctor while they cared for her son.
Furthermore said Assistant Prosecutor Anne Flanagan, Burgett’s lies extended to two GoFundMe pages created on behalf of the boy. Among the false claims, according to testimony, was that he had a brain tumor.
Burgett used the GoFundMe fundraising website to raise $40,000 on his behalf. She had the boy’s eyebrows and head shaved and then took photos of him to post on the site, Flanagan said.
Besides child abuse, Burgett is on trial for felonious assault and telecommunications fraud.
Dr. Robert Shapiro testified that Burgett “became a member of the health care team” as her son was treated, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Monika Bugett's son Jack 1.png

Jack lived a life of sedation based on his mother’s lies. She raised thousands of dollars and built up a whole persona, claiming falsely that little Jack had  brain tumor

Monika Bugett's son Jack 2.png 

As Monika Burgett sought treatment for her son that prosecutors say was unnecessary, she convinced doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that she was a physician.
Burgett got the health care team to treat her son with opioid drugs including Oxycodone and methadone, Dr. Robert Shapiro testified Tuesday in Burgett’s trial.
Burgett had also managed to convince family members, including her husband and sister – that she was a doctor.
“They believed it for many years,” Assistant Prosecutor Anne Flanagan said during opening statements in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. She even participated in a blog for mothers who are physicians.

Allison Reyna, left, and Monika Burgett started Cheer Up Buttercups, an advice service 1.jpgAllison Reyna, [left], and Monika Burgett {right] started Cheer Up Buttercups, an ‘expert, advice service for mothers

Doctors  eventually came to believe Burgett, 39, was lying about the boy’s symptoms and reported suspected child abuse to Hamilton County Job and Family Services.
Based on Burgett’s claims, Flanagan told jurors, her husband and others thought “that this little boy had cancer and was terminal.”
Her lawyer, M.J. Hugan, said Burgett did lie about being a doctor but said her son had many medical problems since he was born premature and she was trying to get help for him. Hugan said Burgett had been with a former husband while he was going through medical school.
“At some point, she adopted the idea that she was a physician,” Hugan said.
The now-5-year-old boy was removed from Burgett’s custody in 2016. Court records show that as of mid-June the boy has lived with his father in Texas.
Burgett, who previously lived in Texas, took the boy to hospitals in Austin, Dallas and Houston before bringing him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2015. He also was hospitalized in Tennessee.

Monika Burgett's attorney M.J. Hugan.jpgMonika Burgett’s attorney M.J. Hugan addressing the jury during opening statements for her trial at the Hamilton County Courthouse on Tuesday 

Burgett’s reports of fake symptoms, Flanagan said, led to “unnecessary and excessive treatment.”
“This little…child was living a life of sedation – of tubes stuck in his face and nose, tubes in his intestines and stomach,” Flanagan said.
He was removed from Burgett’s custody in March 2016, according to testimony, and placed in foster care. Within a week, the boy, now 5 years old, was thriving.
After being cared for at Children’s Hospital without his mother’s input, he was “running around the room from the bed to the couch” with spaghetti sauce “around his mouth,” Shapiro testified.
“He needed no pain medication whatsoever,” Shapiro said. “He ate like a champ.”
According to juvenile court documents the boy, as of June 20, was living with his father in Texas.
Burgett’s attorney, M.J. Hugan, said the boy had numerous medical problems – she pointed to stacks of binders filled with records – and needed medical care since being born extremely premature at 25 weeks.

 

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