A Washington State woman is facing charges of second-degree assault of a child and second-degree attempted assault of a child after forcing her adopted Black daughter to go through more than 470 medical treatments, according to authorities. Sophie Hartman made her six-year-old daughter go through what medical experts call “medical child abuse.”
Hartman had the little girl wear leg braces and undergo various invasive procedures such as installing a feeding tube and a tube that flashes out the child’s intestines. Charges were leveled against her after the child who is being referred to as C.H was put under a 16-day observation for her alarming ailments and treatments.
“At no point during her admission were there any findings or reported symptoms to support any of her prior diagnoses,” said the charging document, filed May 24. “All the available evidence obtained during 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.”
The 31-year-old white woman, based in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington, adopted two Black children from Zambia at a time where she worked as a missionary in the country, according to court documents.
C.H endured “invasive procedures” including a July 2017 implant of a tube through which she was fed. In another procedure in December 2018, a tube was placed in her stomach to flash out her bowels.
“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 February 19 letter that opened the floodgates for the investigation by the Department of Children and Youth.
The King’s County prosecutor’s office presented a letter that stated that the child was at “profound risk”. The letter was co-signed by other physicians.
Prosecutors further said that Hartman requested surgical hormonal implants to suppress the six-year-old’s early onset of puberty. They certified that the child was never in need of a wheelchair or braces which Hartman forced her to use and even set up a GoFundMe to buy them for her.
“Moreover, fundraisers were carried out around this time and the defendant used fundraiser funds to purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle,” the document said.
Hartman approached the Make-a-Wish foundation at the time and said her adoptive daughter had Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC), a disease she said could cause her child to become paralyzed at any time. “She can lose the ability to talk and go into all different types of seizures and have extreme pain. It’s really tough,” Hartman said in the video submitted to the foundation.
Hartman added in the 2019 interview that even the “best pediatric specialists” have no idea what to do, and that “…she needs access to oxygen because her breathing shallows and slows; she depends on her feeding tube when she’s unable to eat.”
“I know she’s walking right now but she was like literally paralyzed all day yesterday,” Hartman said at the time.
She then allegedly told someone that C.H. could “leave us anytime”. According to investigators, she made internet searches on “funeral songs” and “How to get paid to care of a family member with a disability.”
Amid all these, Hartman’s attorneys maintain she is being accused falsely, despite entries from her diary where she described lying about different diseases such as meningitis and mono, in her youth, said court documents.
Detectives noted that in one entry, Hartman allegedly transcribed, “when it comes to suffering, I am a compulsive liar/exaggerator.”
Meanwhile, her attorneys in a statement said, “the doctor from Seattle Children’s Hospital who’s largely behind the charges for this case is not an expert on this disease.”
“She probably has little to no experience in this disease.”
The two children she adopted were taken from her care on March 17.