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Mother in Denmark sentenced to prison for draining blood from her young son for years

She was faking his illness, but doctors got suspicious

BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

A mother in Denmark was arrested for draining blood from son since he was 1 year old in order to make him appear ill. After being found guilty, she was sentenced to four years in prison.

What's the story?

An unnamed 36-year-old woman in western Denmark brought her son to a hospital repeatedly for what she said was a low blood count due to a blood marrow disease. But something seemed wrong to the doctors, who called in a tip to police.

The police installed cameras in the woman's home (which is apparently legal in Denmark) and caught her in the act of draining blood from her otherwise healthy son.

According to the Associated Press, the woman was a trained nurse and had drained more than a pint of blood from her son on 110 occasions, sometimes as frequently as once a week. This behavior began when her son was only 1 year old and continued until police arrested her when he was 6. The boy lives with his father now and has reportedly recovered.

She has since been arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. A court-ordered psychiatrist diagnosed the woman with Munchausen by proxy. People with this condition either make up symptoms in another person or do something to cause those symptoms, in order to make the that person appear sick. In one famous Munchausen by proxy case from 2015, a girl whose mother had made her believe for years that she was seriously ill, eventually snapped and murdered her mother.

The Daily Mail reported that the woman would post updates on her son's fake illness to social media and tried to get local news outlets to cover the story. When the prosecutor in her trial asked her about this, she said she had reached out because "I think, I felt, that it helped us. It was a statement. You can feel a bit alone. Both as a mother, but also as a mother with a sick child."

The prosecutor in her case responded by pointing out that she was only the mother of a sick child because she had made her child sick. She insisted that this wasn't the way she saw it.

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