Seattle doctors are now being investigated in case of Jennifer Mothershead, 29, pictured, who was arrested for allegedly putting bleach eye drops in her toddler's eyes. Video screen grab via KEPR TV.
The Seattle doctors that treated a young girl, now 2-years-old, for two months for severe eye infections during the spring of 2011 are now being investigated by the state after the Washington state Medical Quality Assurance Commission filed a complaint against them.
The girl, K.L.M., will suffer permanent damage to her eyes. Her mother, Jennifer Lynn Mothershead, 29, of Buckley, had allegedly substituted bleach in her daughter’s medical eye drops and administered them repeatedly while her daughter was tightly swaddled in a blanket and unable to escape the chemical.
It was only after the mother’s arrest on April 26 that when investigators confiscated the prescription eye drops that they learned about the bleach. According to msnbc’s report, when the bottle was opened, a “noxious smell” filled the room and witnesses reported mild nausea.
You can find Minor Topic’s initial report on Mothershead here.
Dr. Avery H. Weiss, an ophthalmologist with the Roger Johnson Clinical Vision Laboratory at the hospital that treated the girl, told msnbc that he suspected child abuse early in the weeks of treatment for unexplained eye damage and infections in March and April 2011.
“That’s why I put her in the hospital,” Weiss told msnbc.com in an April interview. Weiss said that under supervised care, the girl’s condition improved, but when she went home to her mother she would get worse again. He said, however, that he wanted to be sure he was correct about any abuse before alleging the mother was intentionally harming her daughter.
“Before I say child abuse, I want incontrovertible evidence,” Weiss told msnbc. According to msnbc, Weiss specializes in treating children who have eye damage caused by shaken baby syndrome and other abuse.
Weiss told msnbc he became certain there was abuse going on when the 14-month-old girl was flown to a nearby trauma center with a brain hemorrhage on May 12, 2011, and that was when he made the report.
According to Washington state law, medical practitioners are mandated reporters and are required by statute to report child abuse or neglect “at the first opportunity,” or no later than 48 hours after there is “reasonable cause” to believe a child has been harmed. Failure to report child abuse is classified as a gross misdemeanor punishable by jail time or a fine.
The girl’s mother has been charged with first-degree child abuse.
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