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Mother injected child with faeces, say police

Associated Press, U.S.A. , July 16th, 2005

Bear, Delaware - A former paediatric nurse has been charged with trying to poison her toddler son by injecting human faeces into his bloodstream.

Stephanie McMullen, 29, was charged on Thursday with assault and reckless endangerment and released on bail.

Doctors at the hospital where McMullen worked alerted police that her 22-month-old son had been admitted to hospital six times since he was four months old for "serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses", acting police chief Lieutenant Colonel Scott McLaren said.

During one examination, doctors found E. coli, a bacteria found in faeces, in the boy's bloodstream, and said the only way it could have entered the bloodstream was "through injection, not consumption".

'This could have eventually led to the death of the child'

"This could have eventually led to the death of the child," McLaren said.

A search of McMullen's hospital locker turned up needles, a syringe holder and an intravenous line tap, and an examination of her home computer indicated she had been researching child poisoning, according to court records.

McLaren said the woman could have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which caregivers cause illnesses in children or exaggerate their symptoms in an effort to draw attention to themselves.

McMullen's attorney, Elwood Eveland Junior, said the child has an eating disorder, and that he has consulted with a medical expert who believes that what the child is suffering is part of a medical condition.

He said police have "absolutely no evidence of an objective nature" against her.

The boy was placed in foster care, and McMullen is scheduled to appear in Family Court next week to try to regain custody.

- Sapa-AP

QuickwirePublished on the Web by IOL on 2005-07-16