Doctors were puzzled when infections sickened a teenage boy, who was undergoing chemotherapy at Riley Hospital for Children, in Indianapolis, during the fall. The 15-year-old had been treated for leukemia in August, but bouts of severe diarrhea, fever and vomiting forced him to return to the hospital in September.
The culprit was not cancer, though. Prosecutors at Marion County say that the boy’s mother, a 41-year-old teacher named Tiffany Alberts of Wolcott, Ind., had injected fecal matter into his IV line. She has been charged with seven felony counts, including six counts of aggravated battery and a count of neglect of a dependent, according to Fox 59.
Confusion about his symptoms prompted a blood test, which revealed microbes in his bloodstream associated with feces, WLFI-TV reported. The hospital installed surveillance equipment in his hospital room. Multiple times during the week of Nov. 13 — until Marion County officers were called to the hospital Nov. 17 — Alberts could be seen on video injecting a substance into the boy’s central venous line, according to court documents obtained by Fox 59.
Taken to an Indiana Child Abuse Office, Alberts’s initial explanation was that she had injected water to “flush” the line because “the medicine that was given to him burned,” CNN reported. She subsequently admitted to filling a needle with the 15-year-old’s feces, from a bag she had stored in the bathroom of his hospital room. Doctors told Fox 59 that the boy faced septic shock and now a possible fatal delay in chemotherapy while the hospital treated his infection.
Her motivation, according to court records reviewed by CNN, was to see her son moved from the Riley Hospital intensive-care unit to another unit in the hospital where “the treatment was better.” Alberts’s attorney, when contacted by the Huffington Post, declined to comment on ongoing cases.
Alberts was released Wednesday on an $80,000 bond, WHIO-TV reported, and she relocated to Ohio. A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for January. As part of her release, the judge decreed a no-contact order between Alberts and her son.
Strange though it may seem, this was not the first time a mother had been accused of sickening her child with fecal matter injected into an intravenous fluid bag.
In July 2015, a judge sentenced a West Virginia woman to six years in prison after she admitted to injecting feces into her 9-year-old son’s IV. Her son was being treated for a congenital disease that affected his bowels; the mother, Candida Fluty, had hoped “doctors would take a different medical approach” if his condition worsened, prosecutors said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
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