A mother who poisoned her 18-month-old son repeatedly with near-fatal doses of medication was convicted to five years behind bars. From Lurnea in southwest Sydney, the 22-year-old lady secretly dosed her child on Tegretol, a medication used in epilepsy therapy.

She took the kid 18 times over six months in 2017 to Liverpool Hospital and lied to employees that he had epileptic fits. The lady was having a shower with her son while in hospital for non-existent seizures and gave her son an unspecified quantity of Tegretol.

At midnight, nurses found the boy unconscious and triggered the alarm, but the woman was unphased and concerned about her phone. The lady poisoned him with the medication in the bathroom or while bringing him on a walk on two distinct occasions when the kid was in hospital.

It wasn’t until the kid took blood samples while in an unresponsive state that elevated Tegretol concentrations were identified in January last year. A pediatrician advised her to stop administering the Tegretol that had been used after her false report of seizures early in her spate of offense.

But then she took the infant more than twenty times to emergency departments and other medical centers reporting that he had seizures, while the medication left him drowsy and sometimes almost unconscious. A toxicologist said if the medicine was given, the kid could die. In 2018, the mother was detained. She confessed seven counts of administering to her son an intoxicating substance to endanger his life and to be careless about harming him.

At Downing Centre District Court on Friday, the woman was sentenced to five years jail with a non parole period of three years. Judge John Arnott noted the woman knew what she was doing was reckless, did it deliberately and not as a spontaneous loss of control and the victim ‘was a young infant, only 18 months, of extreme vulnerability’.

While acknowledging her mental health issues, Judge Arnott spoke out about using her infant child in this way ‘no matter how deep the craving for attention’. Her history included self-harming, and a psychiatrist said the poisoning of her son may have been an extension of her own harming tendencies.

Judge Arnott referred to the need for deterrence as this type of child abuse was difficult to detect. But he also noted her mental health problems which included a factitious disorder”, previously known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy – and borderline personality disorder.

The woman now deeply regrets her actions and her prospects of rehabilitation are reasonable, the judge said. The child is now living with his father and paternal grandparents.

Outside the court, the father’s friend said the boy is now in good hands. ‘There are definitely no winners in this type of scenario,’ he said. ‘It has been a very traumatic time. A very challenging and stressful time. For us, it’s about the wellbeing of the young person involved.’

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