An Oklahoma nurse has been accused of faking medical information about her 10-year-old daughter, forcing the young girl to get a series of unnecessary and potentially fatal medical procedures in multiple states.
Alisha Newman, 34, was arrested in Milwaukee and charged with physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm and child neglect, after she had allegedly brought her daughter to the Children’s Hospital Of Wisconsin earlier this month in a grave and life-threatening condition, Milwaukee station WITI reports.
Prosecutors now say Newman caused the grave condition herself and subjected the young girl to a series of unnecessary medical procedures that only made her more ill, including forcing her daughter to get a pacemaker, feeding tube and port for IVs.
Newman, who authorities believe may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, is accused of faking medical information about her young daughter at hospitals in multiple states—including Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Tennessee—making it more difficult for those who treated her to have an accurate sense of her prior medical records, according to The Milwaukee 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 in court Tuesday, according to WITI.
Suspicion about Newman’s activities began after she brought her daughter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on May 7.
The young girl’s skin appeared “pale and ashen” and the girl seemed “severely ill,” according to a complaint filed in the case.
She appeared to be in severe shock and was suffering from acute renal failure, organ damage and a blood infection.
The 10-year-old was immediately admitted to the pediatric ICU and doctors would eventually determine that she was suffering from a common gut bacteria that can cause severe health problems if it migrates outside the gut.
Doctors ordered a 10-day antibiotic treatment, but this wasn’t the first such incident involving the girl. Just five weeks before, she was also treated with antibiotics in Oklahoma for klebsiella sepsis and bacteremia requiring a 21-day hospital stay, the criminal compliant said.
The girl’s mother also told staff at the Milwaukee hospital that her daughter had been diagnosed with dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension and severe dysmotility.
The young girl also had a pacemaker, port to receive IV fluids, feeding tube and had a do not resuscitate order (DNR) at multiple hospitals.
But the claims raised concerns at the hospital because staff at the hospital had tested the girl in November 2016 and October 2017 and were unable to find any evidence to support “a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy or mitochondrial disease.”
The concerns spurred a review of the young girl’s medical records across multiple states by the hospital’s medical director Alyssa Stephany.
After reviewing the records since birth, Stephany determined there was “a high degree of concern on the part of multiple medical providers that the (initials redacted) girl is the victim of factitious disorder by proxy on the part of the defendant.”
She also concluded that Newman, who is a registered nurse in Oklahoma, had displayed a “concerning pattern” of routinely providing false or misleading information to medical providers to get treatment for the child.
“This was a life-threatening, life-altering situation for this poor 10-year-old child,” Torbenson said in court.
If convicted of either charge, Newman could face up to 15 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
During her court hearing Tuesday, it appeared that she turned to her husband who was sitting in the gallery and mouthed the words “Help me,” local station WITI reports.
Newman’s bond has been set at $50,000.
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