Mom Accused of Lying About Girl's Health for 10 Years

Alisha Newman allegedly suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2019 3:04 PM CDT
Mom Accused of Lying About Girl's Health for 10 Years
Alisha Newman.   (Milwaukee County Jail)

She was both a mom and a nurse, but authorities say an Oklahoma woman endangered her 10-year-old daughter's life by inventing serious illnesses from the girl's very first weeks of life. Alisha Newman, 34, has been charged with felony child abuse amid accusations that she suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, reports BuzzFeed. The details:

  • Six states: Newman allegedly made up ailments about her daughter in six states—Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Tennessee, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She was taken into custody after bringing her daughter to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. At that point, after years of what authorities say were unnecessary medical treatments, the girl was genuinely ill, suffering from acute renal failure, acidosis, and organ damage.
  • The ailments: Over the years, the girl had two pacemakers and a feeding tube installed, and authorities say it's because Newman kept providing false information to doctors at different facilities. At various times, she has claimed her daughter had ailments including dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension, and severe dysmotility, per the Journal Sentinel. Doctors at the Wisconsin hospital were suspicious because tests on the girl ruled out diagnoses the mother kept insisting she had.

  • As an infant: The criminal complaint against Newman says she convinced a hospital to place a feeding tube in her daughter at 11 weeks, even though the hospital could not corroborate the vomiting and feeding issues Newman described. Essentially, they trusted her judgment.
  • The pacemaker: A hospital installed a pacemaker in the girl at age 2 even though its own heart exam came back normal. This was based on “the medical history provided by the defendant, combined with a single report of the primary pediatrician” of a low heart rate, per BuzzFeed. Later, Newman saw to it that her daughter had a skin port installed for what she claimed was an immunoglobulin deficiency, says the complaint, even though that ailment was never diagnosed. And on and on.
  • Jail time: Newman faces up to 27 years in prison and $75,000 in fines. In court, she appeared to mouth the words, "Help me" to her husband, who was sitting in the gallery, reports Fox6. The complaint suggests she suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which one person exaggerates or makes up ailments about another. Her daughter has not been named, and details about her current condition were not available.
  • So many questions: At American Thinker, John Foley writes that the case raises a lot of disturbing questions about accountability and the US health care system in general. But he starts with starts with a few basic ones about the specific case, including, "Weren't the physicians who treated this child capable of seeing that the child was essentially healthy?"
(Boy underwent 13 surgeries. Police say they weren't needed.)

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