'Munchausen Mom' Allegedly Subjected Daughter To Unnecessary Medical Treatment, Surgeries

Alisha Newman allegedly told the medical staff that her daughter had been diagnosed with complications including dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension, and severe dysmotility.

May 30, 2019

Photo by: Mug shot of Alisha Newman [Milwaukee County Jail]

Mug shot of Alisha Newman [Milwaukee County Jail]

By: Catherine Townsend

MILWAUKEE, WI — An Oklahoma City nurse has been charged with allegedly faking her 10-year-old daughter's medical information to various health-care providers, which meant that her daughter received unnecessary and potentially fatal treatments, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Alisha Newman, 34, was charged on May 28 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm and child neglect. Prosecutors claim that Newman, who is a registered nurse in Oklahoma, has been subjecting her daughter to superfluous treatments for years.

"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, according to Fox 6 News.

He added that the girl had been subjected to numerous surgeries and that the treatments reportedly caused a "life-threatening, life-altering situation for this poor 10-year-old child."

According to the criminal complaint, Newman took her daughter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to see a pediatric gastroenterologist on May 7. Doctors saw that the girl was in distress and admitted her to the pediatric ICU. She was diagnosed with acute renal failure, organ damage, and acidosis.

Tests revealed that the girl had a common bacteria that is known to cause issues if it migrates outside the gut. She was treated with antibiotics — but doctors noted that just a few weeks earlier, she had been hospitalized in Oklahoma for another bacterial infection.

Newman allegedly told the medical staff that her daughter had been diagnosed with complications including dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension, and severe dysmotility.

Medical staff at Children's stated that the 10-year-old had a pacemaker on her heart, a port to receive IVIG and IV fluids, and a gastro tube.

Newman's daughter had reportedly been tested in 2016 by a team of physicians representing the Nelson Service for Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases, who were able to rule out both muscular dystrophy and mitochondrial disorders from her diagnoses. Alyssa Stephany, medical director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine for the hospital, reportedly reviewed the girl's medical records, and the doctors at Children's say they found no evidence of any rare disorder.

According to the complaint, the staff at Children's determined that the "girl's medical history demonstrated a pattern of Newman providing false or misleading information to medical providers about her daughter."

Newman had also reportedly visited medical facilities in several states including Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Stephany stated, "There is 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 (Newman)." Factitious disorder by proxy is also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which a person, often a parent or caretaker, makes up illnesses in healthy people in order to get attention for themselves.

This disorder has been in the headlines a lot recently, due to the bizarre and tragic case of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard.

Newman's defense attorney Martin Pruhs stated that her "alleged criminal acts aren't intentional, and I think that also speaks to whether she would continue to pose any potential danger to the alleged victim in this case."

A $50,000 cash bond has been set for Newman, who is due in court for a preliminary hearing on June 7.

Read more: Journal Sentinel, Fox6

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