In episode 2, I talk about the case of Blanco Montano and Factitious Disorder imposed on another (previously called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy). So that everyone has a better understanding of what Factious Disorder is:
According to the Mayo Clinic,
Factitious disorder imposed on another (previously called Munchausen syndrome by proxy) is a mental illness. It is also a form of child abuse. In the majority of cases, Mothers of small children are most often affected by this condition. It is when someone falsely claims that another person has physical or psychological signs or symptoms of illness, or causes injury or disease in another person with the intention of deceiving others.They will claim that medical attention is needed. Usually this involves a parent harming a child. This form of abuse can put a child in serious danger of injury or unnecessary medical care. They often will falsify medical information. They may lie to medical professionals about the health or condition of the person in their care. They do this to in order to gain sympathy or for attention. They may purposely take action to make their child sick. They knowingly will expose the child to painful or risky medical procedures, even surgeries. They may deliberately create symptoms in a child. They can do this by withholding food, poisoning or suffocating the child, giving the child inappropriate medicines, or withholding prescribed medicines.
On February 23, 2011, Blanca Montano, whom was 21 years of age at the time, took her two children to the University of Arizona Medical Center for treatment of flu-like symptoms, both the children had fever and bloody diarrhea. Doctors diagnosed the two children with E. Coli and hospitalized them both. The condition improved in the eldest child, a boy, but the condition worsened for the 7-month-old girl. The girl was moved to the ICU due to multiple blood infections which caused her to go into “septic shock”.
And for the listeners whom are medically terminology challenged like myself, according to the Mayo Clinic:
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's response to an infection damages its own tissues. When the infection-fighting processes turn on the body, they cause organs to function poorly and abnormally. Sepsis may progress to septic shock. This is a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can lead to severe organ problems and death.
Now imagine a 7-month-old child fighting for her life, battling infections, and all types of bacteria.
The 7-month-old victim remained in ICU until April (she was there for approximately 2 months) during this time she contracted several additional life-threatening infections that required different types of antibiotics. She would get infected then receive treatment and then a new infection would occur. The victim battled a total of nine infections during her hospital stay. During this time period the mother Montano rarely left the child’s side (as would any mother).
The doctors became concerned about the infections because they were being found in her blood and were either fecal or water borne. Numerous tests were done on the victim to determine the cause as to whether it was internal issues such as preexisting medical condition, however the test results came back negative of any previous underlying condition that would cause the child’s illness. The doctors even took into consideration that maybe hospital hygiene protocols were not being followed or patient to patient transfer had occurred. There was no medical explanations found and the hospital staff began to suspect that someone was intentionally infecting the child and was introducing bacteria into the child’s IV due to the fact that the IV provided a direct route for the fecal or water to go. The victim was infected with rotavirus, salmonella, and other types of fecal borne matter during her hospital stay.
The victim continued to undergo numerous testing such as echocardiogram, to check the heart chambers and valves to make sure they are pumping correctly, diagnostic test to look internally at the organs for any problems, a bone marrow biopsy was conducted, immune deficiency test was conducted among other medical tests. One has to take into consideration that this is a 7-month-old child who can’t vocalize her needs and is getting poked and prodded with machines and given all types of antibiotics and medicine to fight the bacteria and infection.
Hospital staff noticed the conditions seemed to worsen when the victim was alone with her mother. She continued to developed infection after infection and this left the medical team confused as to what was the cause. Hospital staff became suspicious and placed a video camera in the victim’s hospital room. Three days later they observed the mother obstruct the camera’s view by placing an alcohol wipe in front of the lens, later that day the camera caught the mother coming from the bathroom and then approaching the victim’s crib with her hand hidden in her sweatshirt. When the mother grabbed the IV tubes it triggered the IV alarms.
A patient care conference was held the following day with concerns that the mother was intentionally hurting the victim. The mother was confronted about this and provided a flat affect and no emotional response. The mother admitted to hospital staff that she did block the camera lens due to concerns for the infant’s privacy.
Who knows maybe the mother was trying to change the child’s diaper.
After the patient care conference, the mother was then prohibited from visiting the hospital to see her child. After the visits were stopped the victim did not acquire any new infections and previous infections were cleared up and she was able to be discharged a few weeks later. Is this a coincidence?
Police charged Montano, with attempted murder and one count child abuse. She would initially face 10 to 17 years in prison. Prosecutors argued she continued to make the infant sick in hopes she would win back the baby’s father who had recently split with her. While Her attorneys argued that there was no proof Montano infected the baby’s IV lines and argued that the child picked up the bacteria from other patients in the ICU.
Montano was sentenced to 13-years in prison. Montano has maintained her innocence during this time and attempted to appeal her case but the initial sentence was upheld.
Is the disorder mental illness or form of child abuse? What are your thoughts?
Montano is set to release soon and one has no idea what this world will hold for her. As she maintained her innocence, should she get a chance of redemption and have some type of custody of her children? Remember there was an older child also involved in this whom she was never charged for. She had brought her son to the hospital initially with the same flu like symptoms and he was able to get better. I hope the Arizona Department of Corrections gave her quality rehabilitation to deal with this potential mental illness; and I say potential as the mother has maintained her innocence and feels she has done nothing wrong besides bringing her children to the hospital for medical care.
Shout out to the medical staff that were able to help this child. Not all heroes wear capes but sometimes they wear scrubs.
My take aways from the case:
I would be curious if the mother had any previous involvement or allegations of child abuse/neglect regarding her eldest child against her? Does the mother have any previous history with mental illness? Did the mother lose her parental rights? If not, is it possible the mother will receive treatment in prison even though she denies having any issues? There is a vague mention of the mother committing these acts to get the attention of a boyfriend, where was the father of the children when all this is going on? There is no mention of him in the hospital report.
Arizona department of corrections