31-year-old Sophie Hartman is believed to have subjected her adopted daughter, who is Black, to “medical child abuse.” Over a long period of time, she has subjected the young girl to ‘increasingly invasive’ procedures.
The young child was subjected to different procedures in 2017 and 2018. In July 2017, the girl endured the surgical implant of a tube via which food, water, and medicine were fed into her stomach. In December 2018, a tube was inserted surgically into her intestines to flush out her bowels.
KING 5 reported that Hartman asked doctors if her daughter could get surgical hormonal implants to prevent early onset of puberty. She also forced her to wear leg braces even though it appeared that the little girl didn’t need them.
Dr. Rebecca Wiester, the Seattle Children’s Hospital director, wrote a letter about Hartman’s actions, prompting an investigation by the Department of Children and Youth. Charges were brought against Hartman afterward.
The letter was co-signed by other physicians who indicated that the six-year-old was at ‘profound risk’. On February 19, Wiester wrote in the letter:
“It is not necessary to know the possible motivation of a caregiver, only the outcome of the behavior.”
The young girl, identified by the initials C.H., underwent a 16-day observation. Within that period, they observed her for numerous ailments and treatments. After this, her mother was charged with attempted assault of a child and second-degree assault of a child.
In the charging document, including the letter from physicians, the King County’s prosecutor’s office stated:
“At no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses. 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 a de-escalation of medical support and normalization of her childhood experience.”
Not only was Hartman subjecting her daughter to such medical abuse, but she was also using the opportunity to raise funds. The document from the county office claimed that fundraisers were set by Hartman for getting her daughter a wheelchair. She used the funds raised to purchase a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
As investigations proceeded, it was discovered that while the young child was undergoing different procedures, Hartman told someone that the young girl could “leave us anytime.”
With a court order, investigators uncovered Hartman’s internet searches. She searched for ‘funeral songs’ and ‘how to get paid to take care of a family member with a disability’.
In an interview with KING 5 in 2019, Hartman claimed that of the two sisters she adopted from Namibia, one had a rare neurological disorder called Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC).
She said, during the interview:
“I know she’s walking right now but she was like literally paralyzed all day yesterday.”
Will Hartman Walk Free?
Hartman’s lawyer claims that his client is innocent and that the doctor who is ‘largely behind the charges’ is not an expert on AHC. He also claims that she ‘probably has little to “no experience” with the supposed disease.
Hartman is set to appear in court for the first time tomorrow, June 3. C.H., on the other hand, is said to be staying with her maternal grandma and aunt at the moment.