A woman in Indiana has been accused of tampering with her 15-year-old son’s IV while he was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. The mother, identified as 41-year-old Tiffany Alberts, told authorities she had been injecting her son’s own feces into his system in order to get him moved from the ICU to a different unit in the hospital that she believed would provide better care. It was later discovered the woman had been storing the fecal matter in a gift bag, which sat on the sink inside of his hospital room’s bathroom.
After having been discharged from Riley in early September, the boy returned just a few days later presenting symptoms of severe diarrhea, vomiting, and a high fever. After running several tests to determine the cause of the young man’s numerous infections, hospital staff found organisms in his blood consistent with those typically found in feces that could not be explained.
Suspecting someone may have been purposely contaminating his IV, they installed surveillance cameras in his room, where they witnessed his mother inserting something into his central line.
When questioned by the Child Abuse Office regarding her actions, Alberts initially stated she was merely injecting water to “flush it as the medicine that was given to him burned.” She later admitted to having stored the feces in his room since November, however, the abuse likely lasted much longer, as his infections were discovered two months prior upon his return to the hospital.
Dr. Veda Ackerman, who is now treating the young man, said her greatest concern is having potentially missed the opportunity to keep his leukemia in remission, also stating because of his mother’s choice to willfully compromise his treatment, he “could have died from any of the episodes of septic shock and may well from his leukemia due to the prolonged delay in therapy.” Ackerman is the Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
As for Alberts, she has been arrested and formally charged with six counts of aggravated battery and one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. Because of the serious and life-threatening infections she caused her son to develop in the hopes of “better care,” the boy’s scheduled chemotherapy treatments had to be put on hold for 55 days, thus decreasing his chances of survival.
One can only speculate what her true motives were in regards to her son’s illness, though deeming it appropriate to inject him with his own fecal matter absolutely raises numerous red flags. She is not a trained medical professional, yet rather than voice her concerns about the quality and continuity of care she assumed he was receiving, she took the situation into her own hands, then deliberately lied about it.
It’s hard to comprehend anyone, especially the parent of a gravely ill child, would assume this type of drastic action to be a safe, or in any way effective, method of bringing attention to such concerns.
Since his mother’s arrest and removal from his bedside, the young man has not experienced any further fevers, which is a positive in an otherwise terribly sad situation. For her part, Ms. Alberts is scheduled to appear in court on January 17, 2017, for a pretrial conference; all seven counts against her are felonies, which could result in several years behind bars for the unquestionably troubled mother.