An Oklahoma woman who is a licensed nurse appeared in court earlier this week to face accusations that she lied about her 10-year-old daughter’s medical history to doctors in half a dozen states, leading to years of unnecessary medical treatments, according to multiple reports.
Records from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office show authorities booked Alisha Newman, 34, of Oklahoma City, into jail Sunday to face charges of child abuse and neglecting a child. She is a licensed nurse in Oklahoma, according to WITI.
In a criminal complaint obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WITI, officials said they launched an investigation after Newman brought her pale, visibly ill daughter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on May 7. The girl was admitted to the pediatric ICU with acute renal failure, organ damage and acidosis, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Doctors diagnosed the girl as having a “common gut bacteria that causes health problems if it migrates outside the gut,” according to the Journal Sentinel. She was prescribed a 10-day antibiotic regimen to treat the infection.
Medical staff said they became concerned after noticing that Newman put a Do Not Resuscitate order in place over her daughter, KOCO reported. The order would have barred doctors from performing CPR if the 10-year-old stopped breathing or if her heart stopped beating.
During her daughter’s hospitalization, Newman told doctors the girl had dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension, and severe dysmotility, WITI reported. The 10-year-old had a pacemaker, an IV port and a feeding tube. She had seen doctors in several states, including Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“This is a case that, in essence, involves a continuing course of conduct and offense that has lasted the entirety of this child’s life,” Milwaukee County Deputy District attorney Matthew Torbenson said Tuesday in court, according to WITI. “This was a life-threatening, life-altering situation for this poor 10-year-old child.”
Just weeks before her May 7 hospitalization, authorities said the girl was hospitalized for 21 days to undergo treatment for another severe infection, Klebsiella sepsis and bacteremia, the Journal Sentinel reported.
The newspaper noted doctors at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin tested the 10-year-old for a variety of rare disorders in November 2016, after a team of physicians with the Nelson Service for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases determined she did not have muscular dystrophy or mitochondrial disorders.
The medical director at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Alyssa Stephany, reviewed the girl’s medical records beginning at birth and found a “concerning pattern of conduct on the part of Newman, who has routinely provided false or misleading information to medical providers rendering medical treatment to (her daughter),” WITI and the Journal Sentinel reported.
“There is a high degree of concern on the part of multiple medical providers that the … girl is the victim of factitious disorder by proxy on the part of the defendant,” Stephany said in court records, according to the Journal Sentinel.
The disorder, previously called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, is diagnosed when a person falsely claims someone else “has physical or psychological signs or symptoms of illness, or causes injury or disease in another person with the intention of deceiving others,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It most often involves a parent harming a child, according to the nonprofit.
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