An Illinois woman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after her 14-year-old daughter died of complications of untreated diabetes, a diagnosis the mother is accused of hiding for five years.
Amber L. Hampshire, 39, of Alton, is also charged with endangering the life and health of a child. The Alton Telegraph reported that Hampshire was charged Thursday after she turned herself in to authorities.
Emily Ikue-Rose Hampshire died Nov. 3 from diabetic ketoacidosis, the newspaper reported.
According to the American Diabetes Association, ketoacidosis occurs when a person’s body does not have enough insulin to burn glucose, the body’s normal source of energy, and instead starts to break down fat.
The breakdown of fat produces ketones, a chemical that, when it builds up in a person’s blood, makes the blood more acidic. High levels of ketones act as a poison in the body.
Prosecutors allege that Emily developed ketoacidosis because her mother not only failed to provide the medical treatment she needed for her diabetes, but concealed the teen’s diagnosis from doctors, friends and family members -- including the girl’s father.
“What the charges allege is that she unintentionally killed her daughter by committing acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm,” Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said, according to the Telegraph. “And the meat and potatoes of the allegation is that she took measures to conceal Emily’s diabetes.”
An affidavit obtained by the newspaper states that Emily’s family placed a 911 call Nov. 1 after finding her unresponsive. She was taken to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Alton before being transferred to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital about 25 miles away in St. Louis.
“Zachary and Amber Hampshire reported to Alton police officers and medical staff that Emily had been sick for the past couple of days with vomiting, diarrhea and nausea prior to being found unresponsive on the morning of 11/01/18,” the affidavit reads. “According to medical records, Amber explained to medical staff at Cardinal Glennon Hospital that (Emily) was admitted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital within the past year with pneumonia. Amber also explained that (Emily) also had high sugars at that time, but insulin was not needed and she was never prescribed insulin.”
Hampshire refused to authorize the release of her daughter’s medical records from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, however, the Telegraph reported. Emily died the afternoon of Nov. 3.
A Facebook fundraiser set up to help the family with expenses described Emily as a “shining star not only in her family’s life, but anyone she came in contact with.”
“She was an outstanding student at Evangelical School, an amazing dancer, cheerleader and volleyball player,” the fundraiser’s page said. “She competed in local beauty contests and talent shows. She was named young author and designed and won the Crazy 8 T-shirt competition.
“She had a very giving heart and never met a stranger. She will be missed by all that came in contact with her.”
Emily’s obituary described her as her family’s “sweet angel.”
“Emily spent the 14 years of her life making everyone around her smile,” the obituary read.
Besides her parents and grandparents, Emily is survived by a 9-year-old brother. She was preceded in death by a sister.
The circumstances of Hope Hampshire’s death were not immediately known.
After Emily Hampshire died, Cardinal Glennon medical personnel were able to obtain her records from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which showed she was diagnosed with diabetes in November 2013, the newspaper said. The records also show that, when Emily was admitted with pneumonia in February, she also was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis.
Insulin was prescribed as “routine medicine” after her release, and both Emily and her mother were given extensive information about the teen’s dietary and medical requirements, the Telegraph reported. She was also scheduled for three follow-up appointments to monitor her progress.
Emily was never taken to those appointments and there was no evidence that her insulin prescription was ever filled, the newspaper said. The affidavit shows that an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigator also found that the eighth grader’s school, Evangelical Schools in nearby Godfrey, was notified of a medical plan for the teen around the time of her February hospitalization.
Hampshire, who worked at the school at the time, told school administrators that the diabetes diagnosis was wrong and to ignore the notification, the Telegraph reported.
Police investigators who executed a search warrant at the Hampshire home found packets of information about Emily’s diagnosis, with daily schedules and checklists for her care, the court documents show. They also found insulin pens, a blood glucose monitor and two unused emergency injection kits prescribed to the teen.
“It’s so unusual and sad and a completely preventable death,” Gibbons said Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There were plenty of doctors along the way providing information on what to do with a treatable, manageable illness that many people live out their lives with.”
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that typically develops slowly over time, the American Diabetes Association says. Some of the early symptoms include thirst, high blood sugar and frequent urination.
Symptoms that develop once the condition becomes worse include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, confusion and a fruity smell on a person’s breath.
When a person with diabetes begins vomiting, either from ketoacidosis or from another illness, the condition can become life-threatening quickly, the organization’s website says.
Involuntary manslaughter of a family member is a Class 2 felony in Illinois, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Endangering the life of a child in which the endangerment is the proximate cause of the child’s death is a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
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