BOSTON – A mother whose teenage daughter nearly died from an infection caused by a belly button piercing was convicted Tuesday of endangering the girl's life by failing to seek medical attention until she was gravely ill.
Deborah Robinson, 39, could get up to five years in prison. The girl developed an infection after piercing her own navel and inserting a ring.
Prosecutors said Robinson watched for several weeks as her 13-year-old daughter dropped from 115 pounds to 75 pounds, became incontinent and grew so weak that she could not get off the couch.
When paramedics arrived at the family's apartment in 2005, the girl was emaciated and was wearing an adult diaper.
A jury convicted Robinson of wantonly and recklessly permitting substantial bodily injury to a child. She is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 26.
The girl suffered extensive organ damage from an infection that ravaged her body. For nearly a week, doctors were unsure whether she would survive. But after a series of operations and weeks of rehabilitation, she made a full recovery.
"This story is a story of poverty, of ignorance, of a single mother with two children trying to do the best that she could do with very little resources," Robinson's lawyer, Janet Macnab, told the jury.
The girl, now 14, testified in her mother's defence. She said her mother urged her to eat, gave her orange juice and adjusted the temperature in the apartment to make her comfortable. She also contradicted prosecutors in saying she was in no pain.