A Missouri mother is facing charges of felony child endangerment after reportedly poisoning her son with prescription drugs over the course of a year.
Rachel Kinsella, 35, had been taking her 9-year-old son to the St. Louis Children's Hospital to be treated for epilepsy. Doctors discovered the boy was repeatedly gravely ill due to a combination of two prescription drugs that had been given to him for a year, reports KTVI News.
According to prosecutors, Kinsella took the child to two different doctors. As the doctors were in St. Louis and Kansas City, about 220 miles apart, neither doctor knew about the other. This allegedly enabled Kinsella to hide the abuse over such a long period of time. Missouri is the only U.S. state without a prescription medicine database, so doctors and pharmacists cannot easily access every medication that has been prescribed to a patient.
"The child, when he would present at the hospital in very serious condition, would get much better while he was there," said St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. "When he was returned to her custody he got sick again. And apparently was being treated by two different doctors, apparently unknown to each other."
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The boy is currently living with his paternal grandparents. He is reported to be "thriving," with no long-term effects from the medication.
“Everyone is shocked,” Defense Attorney Greg Smith told St. Louis Today. “To be accused of poisoning your own child, I can’t explain that feeling. How do you deal with that? And we certainly don’t agree with that."
Prosecutors have speculated this case could be considered "Munchausen syndrome by proxy," in which a mother makes her child sick to draw attention to herself. Kinsella admits to having given her child the incorrect medicine "accidentally" on "an occasion." Medical officials stated that the type of amount of drugs given to the child showed an intent to poison him.
"We deny all the allegations that have been made against her," Smith told KTVI News. Rachel wants her son back and she has been dealing with that through a juvenile case. Now that we have the criminal case we are prepared to fight the good fight."