A nurse was jailed last Friday after being found guilty of killing her baby by forcing her to eat. The woman, Gloria Dwomoh aged 31, was the first woman to be put on trial for death of an infant in this fashion and faces a three year jail sentence.
She was said to have been obsessed with the weight of her ten month old infant Diamond and poured pureed food down her throat from a jug while she was attempting to wean her off of breast milk. The child died in March of 2010 in a hospital near east London.
In the post-mortem exam it was found that Diamond had died from pneumonia that was developed by the food being forced down her throat that had seeped into her lungs.Among the food found in her lungs was cereals and milk.
According to the prosecution Diamond had no choice but to swallow or gurgle the food that was forced down her throat when the spout was put in her mouth and then opened fully. When food gets into the lungs it has no way of escaping and begins to breed infections such as pneumonia that can cause death when left untreated.
Trevor Burke the lawyer for the nurse, stated that the mother has already had to live with the death of her child for more than a year and that this should be punishment enough. He also offered the court a petition from friends and family that asked the judge to take mercy on the mother for not knowing what she was doing and then asked that the sentence be suspended.
However, London Judge Brian Barker instead stated that Gloria’s actions were an obsession and that the mother caused her child daily distress and needed to be punished. He added that the act was not one of kindness but instead an obsession and that now the mother must learn to live with the death of her child and her role in it.
He added that while the practice of feeding a child from a jug may be acceptable in some areas of the world in the UK it is considered to be wrong and is actually very dangerous. Gloria wept openly in court and repeatedly stated that she had never done anything to intentionally harm her child adding that her siblings and she had been fed by their mother the same way in Ghana where she was raised.
Prosecutor for the case Andrew Edis stated that in order for this to have occurred the food must have been mistakenly swallowed for months causing a great deal of choking and coughing and that any mother should have seen these as signs to stop the behaviour. In the past Gloria had been warned not to feed her child this way but since Diamond was not considered to be ‘at risk’ by doctors nothing more was done by health professionals and social workers to stop the practice.