White Woman Forced Adopted Black Daughter Into Numerous Unnecessary Surgeries, Prosecutors Say
Prosecutors have charged a white woman with assault of a child after she allegedly forced her adopted daughter to undergo numerous unnecessary surgeries.
Sophie Hartman, 31, is said to have subjected her six-year-old adopted daughter, who is Black, to ‘medical child abuse’ as she forced her into ‘increasingly invasive’ procedures over a long period of time.
In July 2017 the young girl had to endure a surgical implant of a tube to get food, water and medicine directly into the stomach, while in December 2018 she had a tube surgically placed into the intestines to flush out her bowels.
Hear more about Hartman’s case below:
Hartman also reportedly asked doctors if her daughter could get a surgical hormonal implant to suppress early onset of puberty, as well as forcing her to wear leg braces despite the fact she did not appear to need them, KING 5 reports.
Charges were brought against the mother after Dr. Rebecca Wiester, director of the Seattle Children’s Hospital, wrote a letter about her actions that prompted an investigation by the Department of Children and Youth.
In the letter, written on February 19, Wiester wrote: ‘It is not necessary to know the possible motivation of a caregiver, only the outcome of the behavior.’
The letter was co-signed by other physicians and also described the six-year-old, who is referred to by authorities with the initials C.H., as being at ‘profound risk’.
C.H. underwent a 16-day observation for her numerous ailments and treatments, after which her mother was charged with second degree assault of a child and attempted assault of a child.
A charging document from the King County’s prosecutor’s office, which included the letter from physicians, stated: ‘At no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses.’
‘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’, it continued.
The document claimed fundraisers had been carried out when Hartman decided to get a wheelchair for her daughter, and that the mother used the funds raised to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
As her daughter underwent the numerous procedures, Hartman allegedly told someone the young girl could ‘leave us anytime.’ Investigators also said a court order uncovered internet searches made by Hartman that included ‘funeral songs’ and ‘How to get paid to take care of a family member with a disability.’
In a 2019 interview with KING 5, Hartman claimed she had adopted two sisters from Zambia and said one had a rare neurological disorder called alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC).
At the time, she said: ‘I know she’s walking right now but she was like literally paralyzed all day yesterday.’
Hartman’s attorney has disputed the allegations made against his client, claiming the doctor who is ‘largely behind the charges’ is ‘not an expert’ on AHC, and that she ‘probably has little to no experience’ with it.
Hartman’s first court appearance has been set for June 3. C.H. is now said to be staying with her maternal grandmother and aunt.
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