As early as Elkind’s 1989 book The Death Shift, he noted the possibility that Jones exhibited symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome.
“Munchausen as I read about it, understand it and talked to some people about it who are experts in it, it’s not something that excuses behavior. It’s something that explains a pattern of behavior. So, it wasn’t something she was embracing. Rather it was kind of a description of a pattern I think she truly was engaged in where she craved attention, and craved attention in a medical setting.
When she came on duty 3-11 p.m., 2-3 days in a row just under Genene Jones, they’d have an emergency. I think there’s a pattern in her life as a parent and life as a nurse where she’s harming kids that she’s caring for because she gets some sort of thrill of being the center of attention in a medical setting.”
Jones' former fiancé, Ron English, echoed these thoughts.
"Like Peter and I have talked about, we still believe she was vying for attention. ‘Look at me. I am the heroine. I saved your child.’ I knew her well enough that she wanted the glory of being the rescuer and the savior. I think she would say, ‘Ok, if I inject this child with this, I know enough about medicine to bring the child back. Then everybody will praise me.’
Her glory... ‘Look at me. Look how I saved your child.’ I don’t think she really intended to. If you knew her well enough, when her son would get sick, it would be the same thing. She would say, ‘The doctors said this, but I did it this way....’ That’s when I kind of pieced it all together," he said.
English said Jones also had a history of claiming to have serious medical issues herself. In fact, she appeared in court for her arraignment late last year wearing a surgical mask.
Her attorney, Cornelius Cox, would not comment on details, but did offer a brief explanation.
"In terms of medical issues, I can't get into any specifics. I would imagine some of that is just precautionary measures that are taken," he said during a statement to the media.
She has also used a wheelchair, and most recently, a walker in court appearances.
A San Antonio psychologist spoke with KENS 5 about the so-called Munchausen Syndrome in general terms.
“Typically, it wouldn't really be professionally ethical to talk about a specific case and certainly not try to diagnose someone in absentia without having personally examined them, done a clinical interview and clinical testing, that sort of thing in order to impose a diagnosis on someone," Cynthia Jacox said.
Jacox is a psychology professor at Northwest Vista College. She said she has treated patients for more than a decade.
“I was a clinical physiologist in Seattle, Washington for 15 years in private practice, moved here to Texas in 2009, took a couple years off and then came here to Northwest Vista and began teaching psychology classes," Jacox said.
Contrary to popular belief, she said the name ‘Munchausen Syndrome’ itself is not a formal diagnosis.
“It's a term that was introduced several years ago as a suggested diagnosis, but it was never actually adopted as a diagnosis. So Munchausen Syndrome, that term, people are very familiar with. There's Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen by Proxy, but the actual diagnosis from a clinical perspective is actually 'factitious disorder': Factitious disorder imposed on self, or factitious disorder imposed on another. So, the idea of Munchausen Syndrome really falls under that clinical diagnosis. If someone were to be judged as what we commonly call having Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, it would officially be diagnosed as factitious disorder or factitious disorder imposed on another," she said.
However, Jacox said it’s important to note that a person with the disorder is not considered insane. She said they realize that what they are doing is for the purpose of drawing attention to themselves.
“That really is what the description of the disorder is; Someone who presents themselves as having medical problems, basically knowing that they are presenting them, and in doing so, that they are being deceptive or aware. It's not a delusional disorder where a person actually believes that they have that medical problem. They actually realize that they're imposing a deception in doing that. So, that's where the term factitious disorder comes from," she said.
Jacox said it's also a relatively new concept in terms of psychology research history.
"It was originally even mentioned in psychological literature until about 1980. It's most common in situations of parents representing their children as having some sort of medical disorder. It is seen in the health fields as well. As I was reading about it, kind of refreshing my mind about it and reading the literature about it, it mentioned that very frequently people with this disorder do go into health-related occupations," she said.