Nurse from Springfield is accused of 'medical abuse' of her son

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A nurse from Springfield is accused of over-medicating her teenage son with steroids. Investigators accuse Sandra Stilgenbauer, formerly known as Sandra Brockman, of "medically abusing" her son for nearly three years.

The probable cause statement used as the basis of the charges shows the steroids given to the teen caused him to develop Cushing Syndrome. It goes on to say Stilgenbauer claims she was advised to administer the medication if her son was sick for more than two weeks. That was after he got gallbladder surgery. However, investigators say that later medical evaluations showed no need for steroids.

The probable cause statement also says medical reports indicate the mother sought a "variety of medical providers" in order to get steroids despite recommendations from the boy's regular doctors to not give him the medication.

While the director at the Child Advocacy Center could not discuss this specific case, experts say they have dealt with other instances in which parents caused this type of harm to their children. They say, in some cases, they do this because the parent has a mental illness called Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.

"They will inflict lots of tests or treatments on their children in order to gain more attention for themselves and it's really kind of a bizarre dance between the parent and the medical community until the medical community is able to figure out what's really going on," said Barbara Brown-Johnson, director of the CAC.

Brown-Johnson also says working in the medical field is sometimes a characteristic of someone with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.

Stilgenbauer works as a nurse in Springfield at Preferred Family Healthcare. A spokesperson there says "Based on the fact that the nursing board and the Children's Division have previously found the allegations to NOT have merit, she is still an employee [of Preferred Family Healthcare]." Her employer calls her a "reliable" and "helpful" employee.

Stilgenbauer faces felony charges of child abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 15 at 1:30 before Greene County Associate Circuit Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto.