Prague, April 25 (CTK) – A Czech mother who gave insulin to her healthy six-year-old son in order to attain welfare benefits was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday, after confessing to the practice but saying she wanted to relieve her son of health troubles, which the court dismissed as nonsense.
The verdict is not yet definitive and can be appealed.
The mother even continued administering insulin to the boy in the Prague-Motol hospital where he was examined and where doctors uncovered her practice.
“We consider the suspect’s conduct perverse and repugnant,” court panel chairman Tomas Kubovec said.
According to the verdict, the mother, who has three children, gave insulin injections to her middle son repeatedly from June to August 2017 at least.
Insulin caused the boy’s states of hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. He trembled, was pale and tired, with headaches and a higher feeling of hunger, as a result of which he put on weight unnaturally.
In the courtroom, the woman asserted that she gave insulin to the boy “only” once at home and three times in the hospital. Refuting her allegation, experts said he had been on insulin continuously for three to four months.
State attorney Margita Kralicka said the woman, who draws a partial disability pension, worked for merely a couple of months in her life. Otherwise, she has lived on welfare benefits close to 20,000 crowns a month. She raised the benefits by regularly visiting doctors with the kids and complaining about their alleged health troubles.
In the case of her middle son, she successfully “pushed through” five different diagnoses that eventually turned out to be false, Kralicka said.
The boy’s doctor said the woman had expediently manipulated the information she gave to doctors.
The woman’s husband said he knew nothing. He wrongly believed that his wife is a nurse by training, which is why he trusted her childcare methods, he said.
The woman faced five to 12 years in prison. Apart from sentencing her to eight years, the court ordered that she give 200,000 crowns to her son in compensation for non-material damage and 70,000 to the health insurer for the damage incurred.
The court dealt with the question of whether the woman suffers from the Munchhausen syndrome transferred onto her son, a mental disorder in which the patients pretend that health troubles torment a person close to them. An expert ruled this out.
“She knew why she was committing a crime. She tried to gain social benefits at the cost of her children’s health,” the expert said, adding that the woman’s further contact with her offspring could be dangerous for them.