View Full Version : Teen Piercing Sparks Near-Fatal Infection

08-09-2005, 10:15 AM

The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 9, 2005; 9:39 AM

BOSTON -- A 13-year-old was in critical condition and her mother faced criminal charges Monday for failing to get medical help after the girl's attempt to pierce her own belly button caused a severe infection lasting weeks.

By the time Deborah Robinson's daughter was taken to the hospital last week, the former middle school track runner weighed about 75 pounds and was near death, authorities said.

On Monday, two days after being arrested, Robinson, 38, appeared in court and was ordered to undergo evaluation by a psychiatrist to determine whether she's fit to stand trial.

She faces up to five years in prison on a charge of wantonly and recklessly permitting substantial bodily injury to a child under 14, and up to two years in prison on a child endangerment charge.

A court psychiatrist testified that Robinson had signs of paranoia and a distrust of doctors.

A message left with her lawyer, William Concannon, was not immediately returned Monday.

The girl was found by paramedics in the family's apartment Wednesday morning after they received a 911 call about an ill child. According to a police report, the girl was lying on a couch in the apartment wearing an oxygen mask.

Prosecutors said the girl's infection was caused by her attempt to pierce her navel. The small flesh wound progressed to damage several of her organs.

Prosecutor David Deakin said at Monday's court hearing that a doctor who treated the teenager said she likely would have been in "incredible pain" within 24 hours of the onset of the infection. Medical evidence, he said, indicated that the girl was sick for two to four weeks.

Robinson is due to return to court Aug. 26. She did not enter a plea to the two charges she faces, and no bail was set.


AP writer Mark Jewell contributed to this report.