'Help Me,' Pleads Milwaukee Nurse Who Faked Young Daughter's Illnesses, Forcing Her Through Life-threatening Medical Procedures

Alisha Newman Milwaukee
Alisha Newman, a nurse, was caught in Milwaukee allegedly faking her daughter's illnesses and forcing the young girl through life-threatening medical procedures. Milwaukee County Jail

A nurse who allegedly faked her 10-year-old daughter's illnesses reportedly mouthed "help me" to her husband as he watched a court hearing from the gallery.

According to Fox 8, Alisha Newman, 34, of Oklahoma City, made the desperate plea after she faced a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday to hear the charges against her.

Newman, a licensed nurse, is accused of one count of child abuse through recklessly causing great bodily harm and one count of neglecting a child, both of which are felonies. She is thought to have mental health problems.

It is alleged that Newman made false and misleading statements about her daughter's health to doctors in multiple states, causing the young girl to undergo many unnecessary—and at times life-threatening—medical procedures.

Those procedures include the installation of a pacemaker, an IV port and a feeding tube, among other intrusions to the girl's health.

"This is a case that, in essence, involves a continuing course of conduct and offense that has lasted the entirety of this child's life," Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Matthew Torbenson told the court, Fox 8 reported.

He said the child had a number of surgeries as a consequence of the mother's actions, including "do not resuscitate" orders. "This was a life-threatening, life-altering situation for this poor 10-year-old child," Torbenson said.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that it was after the sickly girl's second admission to hospital for a serious bacterial infection in a matter of weeks that doctors became suspicious.

Doctors described the girl's skin as pale and ashen. She was quickly admitted into the pediatric ICU, where they diagnosed her with severe shock, acute renal failure, organ damage, and acidosis.

Newman told doctors at Milwaukee's Children's Hospital of Wisconsin that her daughter had previously been diagnosed with dysautonomia, muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, hypertension, hypotension and severe dysmotility, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

But after an investigation by puzzled doctors, they discovered such conditions were ruled out by specialists who had already assessed the girl thoroughly three years before. Police were alerted and Newman arrested.

Doctors suspect Newman may be suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental health condition where a caregiver intentionally causes illness to the person they are supposed to be looking after in order to win attention and sympathy.

Newman's defense attorney Martin Pruhs told the court the syndrome means that "these alleged criminal acts aren't intentional, and I think that also speaks to whether she would continue to pose any potential danger to the alleged victim in this case," WITI reported.