Sophie Hartman Seattle foster mother charged with medical child abuse after forcing adoptive black daughter to have numerous unnecessary surgeries and up to 500 needless medical treatments.
A Washington state woman is reported to have forced her adopted ‘black’ 6-year-old daughter to undergo numerous unnecessary surgeries and more than 470 medical treatments.
Sophie Hartman, 31, of Renton, Seattle, had her ‘seemingly healthy’ adopted daughter who she adopted from Africa at age two, wear leg braces and go under the knife for surgeries to install a feeding tube and a tube to flush out the child’s intestines.
Hartman is now facing second-degree charges of assault of a child and attempted assault of a child in a case medical experts are calling ‘medical child abuse.’
‘It is not necessary to know the possible motivation of a caregiver, only the outcome of the behavior,’ Dr. Rebecca Wiester, director of the Seattle Children’s Hospital, wrote in a Feb. 19 letter that prompted an investigation by the Department of Children and Youth.
The letter, which said the child was at ‘profound risk,’ was co-signed by other physicians and was part of the charging document from the King County’s prosecutor’s office, posted by KING 5 TV.
16 day observation finds nothing wrong with foster daughter
Hartman was charged after the child, referred to by the initials C.H., underwent a 16-day observation for her numerous ailments and treatments.
‘At no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses,’ noted the charging document, filed May 24.
‘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.’
The child was forced into ‘increasingly invasive’ procedures, with a July 2017 surgical implant of a tube to get food, water and medicine directly into the stomach. In December 2018, she had a tube surgically placed into the intestines to flush out her bowels.
But there’s more.
The child’s adoptive mother went so far as to ask for a surgical hormonal implant to suppress early onset of puberty, prosecutors said.
Hartman was told the kid, who was removed from her care in March, didn’t need leg braces or a wheelchair, but she continued to force C.H. to use them, according to the charging documents.
Incriminating internet searches
‘Moreover, fundraisers were carried out around this time and the defendant used fundraiser funds to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle,’ the document said.
And there were the internet searches.
While it was all going on, she allegedly told someone that C.H. could ‘leave us anytime’ and investigators said they found after a court order that Hartman had done internet searches 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 said she had adopted two sisters from Zambia and that one had a rare neurological disorder called alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC).
‘I know she’s walking right now but she was like literally paralyzed all day yesterday,’ Hartman said in the interview.
The child was given a wish by the Make-a-Wish foundation in 2019, Q13 Fox reported. In a video with the foundation, Hartman discussed the impact of AHC, describing her daughter’s ‘disorder’ as ‘a human time bomb for which there is no cure.’
Accused mom emphatically denies allegations
In a statement given to Q13, Make a Wish said it was dismayed by the accusations.
‘This is a very serious allegation and any threat to the wellbeing of a child is not in alignment with the child-centered focus of our mission,’ the statement said.
‘We hope this matter is quickly remedied in the best interest of the child.’
Hartman’s attorneys maintain the allegations against their client is false.
‘Ms. Hartman’s child was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease, alternating hemiplegia of childhood, by one of the few expert pediatric neurologists in the world from Duke University and by a neurologist at Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma. The child has been evaluated and treated by the doctors at Duke for three years,’ said a statement from attorneys Adam Shapiro and Jessica Goldman.
‘Contrary to the allegations of the King County Prosecuting Attorney,’ the attorneys said, ‘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.’
‘The doctor from Seattle Children’s Hospital who’s largely behind the charges for this case is not an expert on this disease,’ Shapiro added.
‘She probably has little to no experience in this disease.’