An Illinois mother was charged with involuntary manslaughter Thursday after allegedly failing to treat her 14-year-old daughter's diabetes for five years.
Emily Ikue-Rose Hampshire died Nov. 3 from diabetic ketoacidosis.
Her mother, 39-year-old Amber Hampshire, turned herself in to the Alton Police Department and is currently being held in lieu of $100,000 bond.
“It’s so unusual and sad and a completely preventable death,” Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas D. Gibbons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There were plenty of doctors along the way providing information on what to do with a treatable, manageable illness that many people live out their lives with.”
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication of diabetes — often triggered by lack of treatment — that can prove fatal. Lack of insulin leads to high blood sugar and a buildup of acidic ketones in the blood.
Gibbons said police investigators believe Amber Hampshire told no one about her daughter's illness, not even her husband, Emily's father, who frequently traveled for work.
“The charges allege that she unintentionally killed her daughter by committing acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm,” Gibbons said. “The investigation indicates very strongly that the defendant took repeated, substantial steps to conceal the disease from everyone around her.”
According to affidavits and medical records obtained by the Alton Telegraph, Emily was first diagnosed with diabetes in November 2013 at St. Louis Children's Hospital, and she and her mother were informed of the diagnosis and given instructions for management.
In February, she was admitted to the same hospital with pneumonia and diabetic ketoacidosis and prescribed insulin as "routine medicine" before she was released. The hospital reportedly provided Emily and her mother with "extensive education" on her dietary and medical needs and scheduled three follow-up appointments. However, she allegedly never returned for those appointments and there is "no known evidence" that the insulin prescription was ever filled.
In addition to allegedly concealing her daughter's diabetes, authorities said that Hampshire lied to Emily's school about her diagnosis after the first hospital visit. A child protective services investigator told the Alton Telegraph that the Evangelical United Church school received a notification of a medical plan for accommodating Emily's diabetes in February. However, Hampshire, an employee at the school, told the administration that the diagnosis was incorrect and the notification had been sent in error.
Emily's parents found her unresponsive early in the morning on Nov. 1 after being sick for the two previous days. She was in cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived. An ambulance took Emily to a local hospital, but as her condition deteriorated, she was flown to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.
According to court records, upon their arrival, Hampshire told the medical staff that Emily had been hospitalized earlier in the year for pneumonia. She also said that Emily had had high blood sugar during that hospitalization, but then allegedly lied and said that her daughter was not given insulin at the other hospital and had never been prescribed insulin.
The Cardinal Glennon medical staff asked Hampshire to authorize the release of Emily's medical files from the other hospital, but Hampshire refused. Emily died at 4:09 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Emily described herself as "a dancer, Christian, singer, fangirl, actor, cheerleader, writer" on her Instagram page. Photos shared by friends and family on Facebook after her death show the teen participating in dance and cheerleading competitions and pageants.
"Emily spent the 14 years of her life making everyone around her smile," her obituary stated. "She was a bright student, always reading and writing, ready to learn more. Emily was a graceful dancer, cheerleader, and liked to play volleyball. She also loved to sing and act."
Emily had a younger sister named Hope, who died before her, and one younger brother who is still living, according to the obituary.
If convicted, Hampshire could face 3–14 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and 2–10 years for endangering the life of a minor.