Washington Mom Denies Subjecting Daughter to Unnecessary Medical Procedures Amid Court Case
A woman in Seattle stands accused of medical child abuse after subjecting her 6-year-old daughter to unnecessary medical procedures in the last five years.
Sophie Hartman, a resident of Renton in Seattle, Washington, is facing charges of child assault in connection with her adopted daughter's medical condition.
Documents obtained from the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office alleged that the 33-year-old mom, who adopted her daughter from Africa, had been subjecting the tot to "medically unnecessary surgical intervention and restraints."
The procedures were in line with Hartman's claims that her daughter suffered from alternating hemiplegia of childhood, AHC, a rare neurological condition. Following a 16-day observation at the Seattle Children's Hospital in March, the girl showed little or no signs of the condition.
She consumed fluids without a feeding tube, used the bathroom voluntarily without medical aid, and could even walk and run without a leg brace or wheelchair.
Those observations raised questions about the girl's diagnosis. According to court documents, the child had undergone 474 medical appointments since 2016.
She underwent one procedure in 2017 to insert a gastronomy tube into her digestive system as an alternative form of taking in food. Another procedure involved inserting a tube to help feed nutrients into her vein.
Records also showed the youngster received an implant to stop the early onset of puberty. Her stay at the Seattle Children's Hospital proved she required none of those external medical aids.
Experts from Duke University have been evaluating the tot for years.
The girl's AHC diagnosis is also being questioned following genetic testing that identified no variant of the gene associated with the neurological disorder.
A report by the Safe Child and Adolescent Network of the Seattle hospital triggered an investigation by the Renton Police Department. This led to the allegation and lawsuit, filed on May 24. Casey McNerthney of the county's prosecuting attorney's office said:
"This is not based on one investigator. It's not based off of a quick investigation. This was months of investigation by police and several experts who weighed in."
Hartman has since denied the allegations. The suspect's lawyer, Adam Shapiro, claimed the doctor behind the lawsuit was no expert in the disease. He also claimed experts from Duke University have been evaluating the tot for years.
Officers discovered both kids dead in their home, with obvious signs of physical trauma after the woman notified an officer of their deaths. She claimed she kept hearing voices urging her to kill the children until she complied.
Officers reportedly visited the apartment earlier that day to settle a domestic dispute between the woman and her husband. Both kids were alive and faced no immediate danger at the time, making the incident more disheartening.
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