A 20-year-old mother from Sydney, Australia, has been arrested and charged over the alleged repeat-poisoning of her infant son, police said.
Detectives from the New South Wales Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad launched an investigation earlier this year after an 18-month-old boy was treated for a near-fatal overdose of a prescription medication, according to a police statement.
The child was admitted to the Sydney Children’s Hospital in January and was found to have high levels of Tegretol—a prescription medication used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain—in his system. He had not been prescribed the medication at the time.
According to NPS Medicinewise, Tegretol can cause side effects such as dizziness, vomiting, stomach pain, and weakness.
The boy’s mother, who has not been identified for legal reasons, was arrested at a home at Lurnea around 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, after extensive inquiries. She was subsequently taken to Liverpool Police Station and charged with seven counts of using poison to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm, the statement said. She as refused bail.
Police allege the mother administered the drug to her child without a current prescription and contrary to medical instruction.
The mother’s defence lawyer Ted Bramble told reporters outside court today that she was “very sad and thoughtful” about the incident, reported 9News.
“The poor woman has been labouring under some loads, emotionally,” he told reporters.
“The good thing is hopefully now she’ll get the help she much needs and eventually, hopefully, she and this little son can be reconciled. At the moment, that’s not possible.”
The boy has since been released from the hospital and is currently being cared for by relatives.
Detective chief inspector Brian Parker told reporters that the boy is healthier now but may suffer cognitive damage as a result of the overdose.
“In terms of any long-term conditions the child may suffer, we may be looking at three to five years away before we know anything,” Parker said, reported the news station.
The mother is scheduled to next appear in Liverpool Local Court on June 13.