A white mother from Washington reportedly faked her six-year-old black daughter's illness and forced the child to undergo more than 500 medical treatments and unnecessary surgery. Sophie Hartman, 31, claimed that her adopted black daughter suffered from a rare neurological disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood.
However, doctors now say that the child is perfectly healthy after studying her reports and once again scrutinizing her medical condition. Hartman is now facing second degree charges of assault of a child and attempted assault of a child, in a case, medical experts are calling "medical child abuse." If proved guilty she could end up serving years in jail
Unlike a Mother
Hartman allegedly forced her adopted daughter to wear leg braces and go under the knife for surgeries to install a feeding tube and a tube to flush out her intestines. According to court documents, Hartman used to take the child to appointments since she was just two years old, and subjected her to what doctors called an "unnecessary medical procedure."
Besides, she also forced her to use a wheelchair despite doctors insisting that they were not needed, Q13 FOX reported. An investigation was launched after doctors at the Seattle Children's Hospital requested a consultation after becoming concerned that Hartman was asking for "increasingly invasive procedures based upon undocumented signs and symptoms reported by the parent." However, the motive wasn't clear to the doctors.
"It is not necessary to know the possible motivation of a caregiver, only the outcome of the behavior," Dr Rebecca Wiester, director of the Seattle Children's Hospital, wrote in a February 19 letter, following which the investigation was launched by the Department of Children and Youth.
The investigation concluded that Harman unnecessarily did all these for which the child suffered immense pain and trauma. The note mentions that "this pattern has resulted in unnecessary medical testing, medication, procedures, surgeries and debility of this child."
The six-year-old, who was adopted from Zambia in Africa when she was an infant, was removed from her mother's care and observed at a local hospital for 16 days.
Torturing a Healthy Child
Following the examination, doctors concluded that the child was absolutely fine. "At no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses," the charging document, filed May 24, said.
"All the available evidence obtained during the course of her admission suggests C.H. is a healthy young 6-year-old who would continue to benefit from de-escalation of medical support and normalization of her childhood experience."
Search warrants revealed that the girl was diagnosed with the neurological disorder, but medical providers said this was based on information about her symptoms provided to them by Hartman.
These symptoms, including severe seizures, had not been observed by anyone other than Hartman, the documents allege.
Hartman's motive is not know but court documents reveal that she even carried out a fundraiser and she used the funds to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Although Hartman is facing several charges now including child abuse and second degree assault of a child, her mental health is also being questioned. In fact, while all this was going on, Hartman allegedly told someone that C.H. could "leave us anytime" and investigators said they found after a court order that Hartman had done internet searches that included "funeral songs" and "How to get paid to take care of a family member with a disability," while her daughter wasn't ever ill.
Investigation also revealed that Hartman's diary's suggests she has a history of being untruthful about having certain medical conditions, such as meningitis and mono. In one concerning entry, she wrote: "When it comes to suffering, I am a compulsive liar/exaggerator."
In a 2019 interview with KING 5, Hartman said she had adopted two sisters from Zambia and said one had a rare neurological disorder called alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC). "I know she's walking right now but she was like literally paralyzed all day yesterday," she had said at the time.
However, Hartman's attorney has said that the allegations are false.