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Mother arrested in daughter's death

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Ellen, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=5610889&nav=menu188_2

    Mother arrested in daughter's death

    var wn_last_ed_date = getLEDate("Oct 31, 2006 4:27 PM EST"); document.write(wn_last_ed_date);Oct 31, 2006 04:27 PM EST
    David MacAnally/Eyewitness News
    Noblesville - A Noblesville mother is in jail, accused in her infant daughter's death.
    Hallie Shanklin died at her Noblesville home. Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp says a pattern of neglect led to the ten-month-old baby's death.
    "A child that goes through something like this is suffering. It just breaks my heart," Leerkamp said.
    Hallie's mother, 26-year-old Amber Shanklin, denies killing her daughter. "I just know that I never would have hurt my daughter. I loved her very much. It has torn me apart not having my daughter with me," said Shanklin.
    Last May, a 911 call was made from Shanklin's House. The voice on the phone said, "We went into the bedroom. The baby is dead."
    Hallie had been dead for hours. She suffered severe malnutrition and dehydration, prosecutors say. Plus, Hallie's severe type 1 diabetes had not been properly cared for.
    "When I found her I fell on the floor. I couldn't believe my little girl was gone," said Shanklin.
    Shanklin says she fed her baby three hours before her death and always checked her blood sugar levels and gave her insulin. Police say it's simply not true.
    One family photo showed Hallie eating dirt from a planter. Police say it's a possible warning sign of her body's desperate need for protein.
    "The suffering that child goes through, the hunger. I can't imagine. Add to that not receiving proper medication," said Leerkamp.
    Shanklin lived with her brother at his home. Witnesses told police he was having trouble with the hungry child's crying.
    A visitor the day before Hallie died says Amber's brother said, "I wish you could just smother her or you could die."
    The visitor also claimed Amber and her brother held the crying baby up and smacked her 12 times.
    Amber said it was not true. "I don't know why she would say things like that," talking about the visitor on the day the child died.
    Eyewitness News asked Amber if she killed or caused her baby to die. "No, I'm the one that kept her alive."
    Police say they checked the device that reads the baby's blood sugar and found it wasn't used for 22 hours before the child's death. It should be used after every meal. They also found inconsistencies in the mother's written log.

    Amber Shanklin's five-year-old son is in foster care
     
  2. Momof4gr8kids

    Momof4gr8kids Approved members

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    So does this mean if you don't keep a written log that you can go down for neglect? Our endo doesn't think it is something that is a must, as long as you are checking B/G. I keep one anyways, partly b/c I knew I would need it for insurance, but also partly because it helps me follow trends.

    22 hrs is a long time to not check b/g, but is this going to be like the other where there were 2 meters being used?

    If it is true, I hope the mom goes down. She could have put her child up for adoption, or sought some sort of help if she couldn't have handled it. Every mom on this board, specially with itty bitty kids that age checks their kids when they need to.

    I really don't know what to think.

    It is scarey for us if the acusations are not true, and either way it is a shame.
     
  3. margaret

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    Hi Ellen, I appreciate and enjoy all your informative posts. This one is clearly a case of neglect. As I said before and I told State officials, " Child abuse is a real thing and we will never get a handle on it unless we get a handle on the false accusations." God Bless the children, one and all!
    Margaret
     
  4. EmmasMom

    EmmasMom Approved members

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    Not again!

    OH My God!!!
    These stories are so upsetting to me! I'm not sure what to feel other than absolute horror! I have a strange mix of what the h*ll was that stupid woman thinking... and OMG that poor woman! I don't know why I feel the need to play "devil's advocate" for these mothers, but here goes... again... sorry :eek:.

    I have had a 10 month-old diabetic baby in my care and I know how hard it is, how it requires more time and energy than I ever thought was possible to give, how it drains you physically, mentally, emotionally, etc, etc... I know how many times I felt like Emma's life was so brittle, and that if I didn't do everything perfectly she really might die. I lived in constant fear back then. :( Ugh! For me it meant my entire life became about her diabetes, and about knowing everything and doing it as perfectly as humanly possible. I had the "luxury" of thinking about nothing else for many months.
    But I have a very different life than this woman, a wonderful supportive husband and family, great friends, a nice home, stable finances and great insurance to help cover anything Emma needs and a supportive pedi endo practice to help me. I also had experience with diabetes, an education and some medical background that helped me from day one of her dx's. Yet, there were still days I felt overwhelmed by the weight of it all, and even downright incompetent on a few occasions.

    As I read that article I couldn't help but think that a 10 month old diabetic baby can become severely dehydrated in about 2-4 hours if their BG is high, it only takes a few soaked diapers to deplete their tiny bodies. Malnutrition is also a HUGE symptom of uncontrolled BG! DUH! Without adequate insulin you are starving to death even if you eat everything in sight, being underweight and malnourished is a primary concern for any baby with diabetes and it does not necessarily mean her mother was starving her.
    I used to weigh Emma every week to make sure she was gaining weight steadily and the doctors were always amazed that I was able to keep her growing normally.
    And a 10 month-old tasting dirt!!!! When did that become a news worthy crime? I think I have a picture of my 10 month-old son (from many years ago) with dirt on his face, sitting with potted plants on my patio. I thought it was a pretty cute picture, and since he was a super chunky 28 lbs at the time I'm quite certain he didn't taste it because he was starving to death!!!:rolleyes:

    We spend so much time on this forum discussing how difficult this all is and how no one else understands, so I guess that's what really gets me. No one, not a social worker, a police officer, a news reporter, a medical examiner, or an average endocrinologist has any idea what is required to keep a baby, (or any small child for that matter) with type 1 diabetes healthy. They see what they want to see, or what "seems" to be obvious. Other people just don't understand, which means the "facts" can look very different to them.

    I hope you don't all think I'm crazy! It's really not normal for me to defend "negligent" parents,(especially when their children die due to it), It's just that if their kids didn't have diabetes these parents would probably just be considered average, and this baby would still be crawling around eating dirt... and it would seem cute instead of tragic!! I don't know anything about this woman and maybe she was a horrible child abuser, but the evidence presented in that article does not convince me.
     
  5. selketine

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    I can't tell if that was neglect either. I agree with Amy though - probably if the baby hadn't been diabetic there would be no story.

    And I think (as Amy said too) that caring for such a young child takes A LOT. I wonder how well a person of below average intelligence and limited means can deal with this. I don't know if that was the case with this mother. It would be (has been or still is) trying for any of us with a baby dx'd.

    A baby playing in the plant pot doesn't mean something is wrong with the baby either.

    That is a tough one - without more facts there is really no way to tell what went on with this family.
     
  6. ramrummy

    ramrummy Guest

    Ok, forgive me for saying this, but can we have a good news story about diabetes please. The last 2 times I have come onto this site, I have read 2 stories about mothers being charged with harming their children. I am a little bit concerned with the concentration of effort in finding 'bad' stories. When I read stories like these I wonder whether the same emphaisis would be given if they did not involve diabetic children.

    Bad things happen, but there is usually more to the story than reported in the press, and I always look for the hidden agenda of the journalists/media moguls.

    Sorry, I know injustice occurs everywhere, but I would like to think that the majority of cases that make it to the courts, do so for a reason I for one would love to hear some good stories about diabetes please.
     
  7. Twinklet

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    Amy, I agree. :(
     
  8. Tamara Gamble

    Tamara Gamble Approved members

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    I think it's hard when you hear about stories like this, but I think we all need to be aware of what is happening.

    What if all of a sudden these cases are popping up everywhere and every mother or father are under suspicion constantly?

    What if one day someone decides that if we have a child with D and are not a liceansed health care proffesional we cannot care for them?

    This is an important issue. It is ugly there is no question about that but we need to know where things are going in regards to this disease so we can protect our rights and our childrens rights. This is a great board for that. There is strength in numbers.

    It's great that we hear possitive things as we should. However, this board is for all concerns and information. Something someone may not want to hear someone else does.

    These cases are disenheartening for me as well but quite frankly I want to know everything that I can. God forbid there ever come a day when we have to daily answer to social services etc for changing a basal or making a lunch.

    Perhapse we need to start keeping better records. I know that here in MI I have to fax numbers, site changes, basals, CF, I to C ratio, corrections I have made or not made, g of carbs eaten and insulin given every week to my doctor. Only a handful of us have the permission from the doc to make changes without contacting them. I am one of them fortunately. At the beginning I had to call and justify what I was doing. Now I don't.

    It's my understanding that it is different everywhere but all three endo's that we have seen have had the same rules. I can now see how this would be beneficial for everyone in some ways, a down side in other cases but ultimately would protect the child.

    Thanks for the article Ellen. Perhapse if everyone here got involved, sent emails, letters etc. The courts would be able to better determine what actually happened so an innocent is not wrongfully sentenced or an abuser does not get off. They need better criteria for determining things.

    Tami
     
  9. selketine

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    Only when William was first dx'd did I ask the doctor before making changes. I never inform her of any changes to his basal or ratios, etc. unless I'm having problems. I don't keep record books like I used to either.

    So I'm wondering does this mean we need to keep records of all the boluses, basal changes, site changes, things bought (I do have records of that -reminders set up in Outlook for when I need new supplies)? Do we need those records in case something goes wrong? Or are these parents who had some history of neglect?
     
  10. EmmasMom

    EmmasMom Approved members

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    My thoughts exactly. I have been making 95% of the decisions in Emma's care for a long time. I rarely keep written logs, (though her pump saves all the info and I upload it to my computer), and when I do keep a log it's because I'm trying to fix a problem. I'm sure they wouldn't like some of the numbers on them.:rolleyes:
    I'm certain that her doctors would back me up as doing a good job managing her, unless they were in question too... It's just scary to me! A child with D dies an immediately everything you've ever done comes into question. I've often joked that I'm a nurse, dietitian, and pedi endo that just doesn't get paid and never gets a day off, but the fact is I'm not! It's troubling that we are expected to be all of those things if something bad happens, but the rest of the time people are saying "just do the best you can". I've heard that so many times from our endo, and I can assure you that there is a big difference between the best I can do, and the best some other people can do. It's a stupid thing to say, and I'd bet it wont hold up in court either!

    I have good records on everything I do, but what about what's in those records; the bad numbers, the weeks with too many lows, the 5 hospital stays because of ketones and mild dehydration last year, yada, yada... Those things could look really bad to someone who has no idea! By being over cautious about ketones and testing all of the time and taking her care into my own hands, (because the endo have almost no experience with babies and are almost useless) I may actually make an easy case against myself!!!:eek: It just freak me out a little bit!
     
  11. Momof4gr8kids

    Momof4gr8kids Approved members

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    Amy, Julia is 5, and I feel the same way. We have our days, and weeks where it is almost nothing but bad numbers. Then we do have our good days, and weeks, but I know if someone were to look at my logs who was uneducated my ability to be the mom of a D child would come into question. I plan on talking to our endo about this fear. I think he thinks we do a good job. He rarely has any suggestions, but who knows what someone else is thinking.
     
  12. thebestnest5

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    How unbelievably sad! I, too, feel a mixture of frustation/sadness/compassion. I want to trust in the justice system. But another part of me wonders what "facts" are actually being deliberated in cases like this. I wonder how D is portrayed? On what criteria is it decided if a case is criminal or a horrific tragedy when D is involved?

    I am left to wonder about neglectful and abusive homes. Neglecting a child in reprehensible...Neglecting a child with T1D is reprehensible and can be fatal. What happens to parents who don't understand how serious D can be? Are they neglectful or ignorant or both? If it's ignorance, is this ignorance self-imposed by ignoring doctor's appointments and training? Or, is ignorance due to poor health care, inadequate training, and low economic status, where the parent is unable to afford quality healthcare and supplies.

    I wonder if these will be considered isolated cases or if they have the potential to set a precedent for all D families.
     
  13. jeep_bluetj

    jeep_bluetj Approved members

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    That's the troubling part right there. To 99% of the population, daily dose changes of a drug that is fatal if misused sounds like abuse. I'd wager that over 70% of physicians woud agree - so getting a 'expert' witness for the prosecution would be easy. (I've noticed that far too many Dr's are from the unwaveringly egotistical "I know what's best and you're a moron" group)

    But - we all know better. EmmasMom IS Emma's nurse, dietitian, and pedi endo. And without ever actually meeting either of them, I will say Emma is one lucky little girl. The very best D care is achieved by understanding D as well as we do, and reacting on a daily and hourly basis.

    I'd fail at that. Unless the downloaded records would fly, If this was a law I'd fail at it. There's just something so Orwellian to that that makes my skin crawl.

    But interestingly, that's the rub. You can't write down common sense in a law. And when its tried, you remove the common sense. What's the criteria? No DKA? No dehydration? No ER visits? Amy would have Emma taken by CPS by those criteria. And we ALL know that's not right.

    And it's not just education. I've been an expert witness before (not D stuff). It comes down to who's more believiable. Is the weeping mom more believable than the Phd/MD expert the procecution brought in? Who would we write letters to? A judge? They don't care (it's not thier job). The Jury? Can't, that's against the rules of evidence. We'd need to become expert witnesses, and give depos or testimony during a trial.

    It's like news reporting. Most of the time you think it's pretty good. Until they report on something you really know alot about (like D). Then it's glaring how much is wrong. Same for the legal process.

    This story is scary to me. I feel (based on the tiny bit of info we have) that the mom was negligent. But it's not too far from that point where we could ALL be thought of as negligent. And then CPS would be negligent after the kids they took away got sicker. And the hospitals where our children ended up would be negligent when the kids all got sicker. And there's not much we can do about it.
     
  14. margaret

    margaret Approved members

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    Perhaps like in our situation, when the CPS Investigator found out that it was the school district that was neglectful, He left my child there at risk and don't worry I let the State know it!!!

    Margaret
     
  15. zeb'smom

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    I have been thinking about both of these cases a lot the last few days. I agree that this is a very complex and scary issue. I find myself agreeing with all of you so far, there are so many sides to these stories. The thing I keep coming back to is this, neither of these mothers has anyone standing up for them? I can assure you that god forbid something ever happened to Zebulon I would have a dozen of family members, several close friends, other families from school, and most importantly CDE, P.A., nurses and Pedi endo who could atest to how carefully he is monitiored. I imagine that most of you could say the same. So how is it that there is NOT ONE PERSON speaking on behalf of these mothers and how they cared for their children. Without a first hand look at these families and what happen it is just not enough imformation to know what happened, but the lack of loud outcry by those that do know the families seems telling to me.

    I have kept detailed handwritten logs since Zeb came home from the hospital, mostly for my own sanity. Now I have a reason to be glad that I boarder on obsesive with my log keeping.

    Robyn
     
  16. Momof4gr8kids

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    We almost couldn't afford D in the begining. We cut out everything that could be considered an extra, and it was really rough, but there are alot of places that will help. Our endo, and CDE each gave us extra strips, and helped us out quite a bit for the first few months until we could find a way to get Julia insured. Idaho insurance laws are a #@$%&
     
  17. cydnimom

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    I truly think we have to step back when jumping to conclusions on the very little information that was given. Remember ...innocent until proven guilty.

    Has anyone asked how long this baby had D - if she was only 10 months old, my guess is not very long. How many of you had not contacted your D team in early diagnosis because you felt like you were asking stupid questions and didn't want to bother them?

    I know it may be incomprehensible for any of us not to check blood sugar for 22 hours, especially an infant, but do we know her means and what kind of support systems she had.

    I'm not trying to make excuses for her. I really feel badly for her, her son and especially the little baby that she lost.
     
  18. margaret

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    Unfortunately Carol, it takes one call to the Hotline to set the destruction in motion. In some states your name remains on the abuse registry whether or not the case was founded or unfounded. How about that for constitutional rights??? Margaret
     
  19. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    How many of you see a social worker or psychologist when you go to the endo's office? How many of you are asked as parents "HOW ARE YOU COPING?" Where is the support for parents who are not coping? Where can a person turn to when they recognize they are not capable of handling this and need to get help? I would like to see every endocrinologist office have psychosocial support for their patients and families....in a perfect world.


    It looks like this mother was not innocent...but I'm neither judge nor jury.
    [​IMG]
    [SIZE=-2]INDYchannel.com[/SIZE]
    Mother charged in baby's death
    [SIZE=-1]Indianapolis Star, United States - 16 hours ago[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]... Hallie Shanklin's hip bones protruded, and it was evident through her pajamas that she was emaciated when emergency workers arrived at her home May 17. ... [/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Child dies: mother arrested [SIZE=-1]WTHR[/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Noblesville Woman Charged With Neglect In Baby's Death [SIZE=-1]INDYchannel.com[/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]Noblesville Woman Arrested for Neglect [SIZE=-1]WISH[/SIZE][/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]all 6 news articles »[/SIZE]Mom charged in child's death
    [SIZE=-1]Noblesville Ledger, USA - 17 hours ago[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]... Noblesville home. An autopsy said Hallie Shanklin died of severe dehydration, starvation and complications from diabetes in May. Amber ... [/SIZE]
     
  20. margaret

    margaret Approved members

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    And all that's needed is a "preponderence of evidence". The laws are there to protect the children just as we try to do everyday, but all it takes is one enemy to remain anonymous and then you really start questioning yourself. believe me I've lived it. So my advice is know the laws, above all you NEVER have to let a CPS Investigator in without a court order and they intimidate you so, that you will do whatever they say and NEVER agree to sign up for parenting classes or you belong to the State.
    Margaret
     

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