A so-called “breastfeeding overdose” by mother Stephanie Greene has a South Carolina judge handing down a 20 year sentence for accidentally killing her child.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, a mother who was breastfeeding while drinking alcohol was arrested, and the waitress who reported the incident was also fired. Perhaps it’s for reasons like this that studies also show that fewer mothers are breastfeeding even though some research claims breastfeeding can reduce the chance of breast cancer.
The alleged crime began when Mrs. Greene called 911 to report her baby was unconscious while co-sleeping. She attempted CPR but reports say she sounded “groggy and unfocused” and could not keep her timing. When investigators arrived they found pill bottles and painkiller patches on her nightstand, which was considered against her since they were within reach of her other older children. During the trial a pathologist testified that the amount of morphine in the child’s blood was enough to kill a full grown adult.
The 39-year-old former nurse was accused of homicide by child abuse, involuntary manslaughter, and unlawful conduct toward a child because she declined to notify doctors of her pregnancy while still receiving prescription painkillers. The reason the prosecutors called it a case of breastfeeding overdose is because she continued to take morphine while feeding her 6-week-old daughter, who was otherwise claimed to be healthy before the accidental death.
Prosecutors also pointed out how she lost her nursing license in 2004 due to trying to get her painkiller drugs illegally:
“She was a nurse. She knew how to work the system. She caused the loss of that child.”
But defense lawyers claimed Greene suffered from chronic pain from a 1998 car accident where she fractured her skull and pelvis. They also claim that there is little scientific evidence to suggest that breastfeeding can transfer any consumed substance, including painkillers, in a large enough amount to harm an infant. The lawyers say they will be appealing the case and that the verdict is only punishing the rest of the family, which includes Mr. Greene and several other children:
“The court can’t punish her any more than she already has been by losing a child.”
Regardless, the judge felt that this instance of so-called “breast milk murder” deserved a minimum sentence of 20 years behind bars. Stephanie Greene will have to wait 16 years to become eligible for parole.
The breastfeeding overdose case is the very first of its kind because no mother has ever been prosecuted for allegedly transmitting substances via their own body. Do you think it’s fair to hand down such a harsh sentence considering the circumstances?