White mom charged with ‘medical child abuse’ for subjecting black daughter to unnecessary treatment

A white mother is accused of faking her six-year-old black daughter’s illness and forcing the child to undergo more than 500 appointments and unnecessary surgery.

Sophie Hartman, 31, claimed that the little girl suffered from a rare neurological disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, but doctors now say the child is perfectly healthy.

According to court documents, Hartman has taken her adopted daughter to appointments since she was around two years old, and subjected her to what doctors called an ‘unnecessary medical procedure’ with a surgically implanted feeding tube.

The little girl, who lives with her mother in Renton, Washington, was also made to wear leg braces and used a wheelchair despite doctors insisting that they were not needed, Q13 FOX reported.

Sophie Hartman, 31, claimed that her daughter suffered from a rare neurological disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, but doctors now say the child is perfectly healthy

Sophie Hartman, 31, claimed that her daughter suffered from a rare neurological disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, but doctors now say the child is perfectly healthy

Sophie Hartman, 31, claimed that her daughter suffered from a rare neurological disease, Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, but doctors now say the child is perfectly healthy

A lengthy investigation into the case charges Hartman with ‘medical child abuse’, stating that specialists at Seattle Children’s Hospital requested a consultation after becoming concerned the mother was asking for ‘increasingly invasive procedures based upon undocumented signs and symptoms reported by the parent’.

Reports note that a concern 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. 

Court documents say that at no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses.  

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.

Sophie Hartman appeared in a Make-A-Wish Foundation video saying that her daughter has been diagnosed with a disease that means 'at any given time, she can go paralyzed'

Sophie Hartman appeared in a Make-A-Wish Foundation video saying that her daughter has been diagnosed with a disease that means 'at any given time, she can go paralyzed'

Sophie Hartman appeared in a Make-A-Wish Foundation video saying that her daughter has been diagnosed with a disease that means ‘at any given time, she can go paralyzed’

According to court documents, Hartman has taken her adopted daughter to appointments since she was around two years old, and subjected her to what doctors called an 'unnecessary medical procedure' with a surgically implanted feeding tube

According to court documents, Hartman has taken her adopted daughter to appointments since she was around two years old, and subjected her to what doctors called an 'unnecessary medical procedure' with a surgically implanted feeding tube

According to court documents, Hartman has taken her adopted daughter to appointments since she was around two years old, and subjected her to what doctors called an ‘unnecessary medical procedure’ with a surgically implanted feeding tube

Investigators 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.’

A social media page and various fundraisers were set up for the child and she was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Speaking about her daughter in a video for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Hartman says that she has been diagnosed with a disease that means ‘at any given time, she can go paralyzed.’

A social media page and various fundraisers were set up for the child and she was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation

A social media page and various fundraisers were set up for the child and she was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation

A social media page and various fundraisers were set up for the child and she was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation

The six-year-old, who was adopted from Zambia in Africa when she was an infant, was removed from her mother's care was observed at a local hospital for 16 days

The six-year-old, who was adopted from Zambia in Africa when she was an infant, was removed from her mother's care was observed at a local hospital for 16 days

The six-year-old, who was adopted from Zambia in Africa when she was an infant, was removed from her mother’s care was observed at a local hospital for 16 days

Hartman adds: ‘Doctors, even the best pediatric specialists, do not know what to do and do not have treatment options… She needs access to oxygen because her breathing shallows and slows; she depends on her feeding tube when she’s unable to eat.’ 

A statement seen by Q13 FOX that was issued by Hartman’s attorneys on her behalf claims that the mother is ‘innocent of these charges.’

It adds: ‘Contrary to the allegations of the King County Prosecuting Attorney, the child’s diagnosis was made by more than one doctor, is legitimate, and is based on a substantial record beyond the reports and information provided by Ms. Hartman. 

‘That record includes independent medical examinations by multiple doctors, direct observation of the child by doctors and nurses at Duke and at Seattle Children’s Hospital, standardized testing results, videotapes of the child’s symptoms, MRI, EEG and other diagnostic tests.’ 

Faking it: What is Munchausen? 

Sophie Hartman, 31, insists her six-year-old had a rare neurological disease, and took her to more than 500 medical appointments. 

But doctors say the girl was given an ‘unnecessary medical procedure’ with a feeding tube and used leg braces and a wheelchair that were not needed. 

Hartman is not the first caregiver who has been accused of inventing symptoms of a child or vulnerable person.

Munchausen by Proxy is a condition where an adult will invent medical conditions for his or her child so that they can get attention or sympathy.

A dangerous facet of this is how they will often induce symptoms in the child to better illustrate the lie. 

Patients aren’t always being deliberately deceitful. Many act on ‘erroneous beliefs’ causing them to exaggerate normal characteristics. 

Munchausen by Proxy is typically considered a severe form of child abuse.

Munchausen Syndrome is when a person will invent their own ailment or illness for sympathy or attention.

Both are mental disorders. 

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