By Shereen Siewert
A 25-year-old Plover mother accused of chronic child neglect and physical abuse of a child will repay $157,061.83 for medical expenses incurred when she faked her child’s illness at a Marshfield hospital.
Holly Fields appeared Aug. 20 in Wood County Circuit Court for a sentencing hearing and was ordered to pay restitution and spend nine months in jail. Fields must also attend parenting classes and is only allowed supervised visits with her child. She is also required to perform 200 hours of community service.
Prosecutors describe the case as one of Munchausen by Proxy, a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care.
MSP is a relatively rare behavioral disorder. It affects a primary caretaker, often the mother. The person with MSP gains attention by seeking medical help for exaggerated or made-up symptoms of a child in his or her care. As health care providers strive to identify what’s causing the child’s symptoms, the deliberate actions of the mother or caretaker can often make the symptoms worse for the child, medical professionals say.
In Fields’ case, investigators say she brought her 10-month-old baby to the hospital in April 2018, telling doctors she was concerned that the infant wasn’t gaining wait or progressing normally. Despite having a feeding tube surgically inserted, the child failed to improve. But surveillance footage shows Fields tampered with the feeding tube 16 times in a 36-hour span.
Fields will be place on probation for eight years following her release from jail.