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What would lead a mother to do this to her child?

The little girl. Image via Facebook.

 

 

UPDATE: A mother who fed her daughter chemotherapy drugs in an attempt to harness sympathy from family and community members, was sentenced today in a QLD court.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity, was sentenced to six years in jail and will be eligible for parole in April next year.

It’s unlikely that she’ll ever be given custody of her son and daughter again. 

Mamamia previously reported: 

When a 22-year-old mother was nursing her four-year-old daughter through a life-threatening illness, she used social media as a way to keep herself sane and her family and friends informed.

“Nervous tonight. Don’t know if I will be able to sleep,” she wrote one day.

“Hopefully we can find a reason why she got this horrible disease. Hopefully, when she is older, she can look back on everything she had done and realise how strong she is,” she wrote on another occasion.

Over the course of her daughter’s illness, the Gold Coast mum’s Facebook page amassed more than 7000 followers. Through regular posts, every step of the journey was chronicled on the page – every hospital visit, every heartache, every restless night. Some reports even suggest the mother used the page to raise funds for her daughter’s undoubtedly expensive treatment.

When the mother was told that her daughter needed a bone marrow transplant to keep her alive, she updated the page by writing: “The doctor came in today and told me they are going to start looking for a bone marrow donor and we need to do this ASAP if [name withheld] doesn’t start to get better”.

“If nothing changes [name withheld] will be dead in six months without a transplant,” she said.

Tragic.

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But, get this.  What doctors didn’t know when they delivered the terrible news, was that the woman’s daughter wasn’t actually sick at all. The girl didn’t need any life saving bone marrow transplant. She needed her mother to stop poisoning her.

The woman had reportedly been feeding her daughter chemotherapy drugs that she’d purchased over the internet for almost a year. The result? Her daughter’s young body was reacting in such a way as to suggest she was terribly, terribly ill.

This month, the Queensland mother pleaded guilty to  grievous bodily harm for giving her daughter medicine she didn’t need from July 2012 until April this year.

Her case is thought to be one of the most extreme examples of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) ever seen in Australia. MBPS is a form of child abuse in which parents lead people to believe their child is sick in order to gather sympathy.According to The Medical Journal of Australia:

The label “Munchausen by proxy syndrome” is best applied to cases of child abuse in which a caregiver, usually the child’s mother, fabricates symptoms or induces illness in a dependent child, and the doctor mistakenly believes that a naturally occurring illness is present.1 Thus, an active interaction between the caregiver-perpetrator and medical professional is required for the syndrome to occur.

Image via Facebook

Over the course of the little girl’s ‘illness,’ the four-year-old lost her hair, went through numerous operations and tests to help doctors try and understand what was wrong with her and spent many nights in the oncology unit of the Brisbane Royal Children’s Hospital.

At one point she hemorrhaged out of her nose prompting the mother to write an update on her Facebook page which said: “Minutes after typing my last comment (name withheld) started to hemorrhage out of her nose, a 000 call later and a ride in the ambulance and 20 minutes of gushing blood we have finally got it to stop … Gosh too much drama for 3am …”

The date for the woman’s sentencing is yet to be set, but it’s believed she could face 14 years in jail for their pain she inflicted on the little girl she was supposed to protect.

As was previously written on our sister site, iVillage.com.au:

Doctors are happy with her recovery so far however admit they don’t know all the long term effects the prolonged chemo drug use might have on her little body such as infertility.

The mum has a history of seeking attention for medical illnesses. When she was 21 she claimed to be suffering from eating disorders and cluster headaches, sharing her struggles on YouTube.

In court the mum looked unkempt and dishevelled. She has never explained why she did it. The Facebook page she set up to track her daughter’s illness was bombarded with angry messages directed at the mother, causing the little girl’s grandfather to post the message, “”Can I ask you save the hate and turn all your focus to positive prayerful thoughts for our gorgeous baby, number one priority is to get her well.”

Here’s hoping that’s exactly what happens.

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