A mother-of-eight accused of tricking doctors into performing unnecessary surgeries on her children has just reached a plea deal that requires her to undergo a psychological evaluation.
As the Oregonian reports, 45-year-old Katherine Parker allegedly medically abused at least three of her children, now ages 6, 8, and 9, by telling doctors they had illnesses that they had never been diagnosed with.
Prosecutor Chuck Mickley argued that Parker’s actions put her children in harm’s way, which is why she was initially charged with medical child abuse, punishable up to 30 years in prison.
However, Parker’s defense attorney, Lisa Ludwig, told the court that the loving mother had merely been relying on the doctors’ diagnoses to treat her children.
“There are two possibilities here: One is that a high-school educated, stay-at-home mom tricked literally dozens of medical professionals into doing literally dozens of unnecessary medical procedures — including brain surgery — on three different children,” Ludwig said. “The other possibility is the doctors made errors.”
Since Parker’s arrest in April 2014, prosecutors have been trying to build a case of Münchausen by proxy syndrome, a very rare disorder in which a caretaker fakes a child’s illnesses in order to gain attention and sympathy.
Although most of her children have been placed in various foster homes since her arrest, Parker has finally pleaded no contest to a total of five counts of fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and first-degree criminal mistreatment of three of her children, in hopes of one day being reunited with her family.
Aside from being ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation, Parker was also sentenced to five years of probation and 180 days in jail, which she already served.