MILWAUKEE, Wis. - An Oklahoma woman has been charged in Wisconsin with complaints of child abuse and neglect after being accused of making her daughter undergo unnecessary medical procedures that only made her more sick.
Alisha Newman, 34, from Oklahoma City and a registered nurse in the state, appeared in a Milwaukee County courtroom Tuesday on charges of physical child abuse, recklessly causing great bodily harm and child neglect.
According to Fox6, Milwaukee County Court Commissioner Alexis Liggins ruled probable cause was found and set a preliminary hearing for June 7.
According to the criminal complaint, Newman brought her daughter to the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee on May 7.
"[The child] appeared severely ill...[the child] was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where [the child] was diagnosed as being in severe shock and experiencing acute renal failure, end organ damage, and acidosis."
Prosecutors in court Tuesday said this life-threatening condition was caused by Newman herself.
"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," said Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Torbenson, according to Fox6.
This is the second time in five weeks Newman's daughter was hospitalized for a severe infection.
"Five weeks previous, [the child] was hospitalized in Oklahoma for Klebsiella sepsis and bacteremia."
The complaint said Newman told medical staff her daughter was "diagnosed with dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension and hypotension, and severe dysmotility."
The hospital also confirmed the child had a pacemaker, a port to receive IV fluids and a feeding tube.
"Ultimately leading to a number of surgeries for this child -- DNR (do not resuscitate) orders in multiple different hospitals for this child. This was a life-threatening, life-altering situation for this poor 10-year-old child," Torbenson said.
According to the criminal complaint, the child was evaluated in both November 2016 and October 2017 by a team of physicians who found no evidence of muscular dystrophy or mitochondrial dysfunction.
The Medical Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin conducted a review of medical records since the child’s birth and found there was a "concerning pattern of conduct on the part of Newman, who has routinely provided false or misleading information to medical providers rendering medical treatment to [the child]."
According to the complaint, Newman has taken her daughter for procedures and medical examinations in Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina,
"[This] has led to [the child] being misdiagnosed and undergoing multiple unwarranted medical procedures, many of which posed risk to [the child's] life."
Newman's alleged behavior is often known as Munchausen by proxy.
"And so these 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," said Newman's defense attorney Martin Pruhs.
"Based on [the child’s] hospitalization on May 7, 2019, a review of all available medical records, and a review of [the child’s] medical history, there is a high degree of concern on the part of multiple medical providers that [the child] is the victim of factitious disorder by proxy on the part of the defendant."
If convicted on either of the charges, Newman could face up to 15 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.