Breastfeeding Overdose: Woman Guilty of Homicide

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In a tragic case of malicious neglect to a newborn child, the Associated Press tells us of a 39-year-old woman from South Carolina has been recently sentenced to 20 years of prison for killing her 6-week-old daughter by way of breastfeeding.

Stephanie Greene continued to receive morphine prescriptions while pregnant and breast feeding by concealing her pregnancy from her doctors. As a former nurse, she intricately maneuvered between her primary care doctor and gynecologist to achieve this. It should be noted that Greene lost her nursing license in 2004 for attempting to obtain drugs illegally.

Greene's newborn baby girl, Alexis, was born healthy. Six weeks later, however, a 911 call made by Stephanie Greene reported Alexis being unconscious in her bed. A later toxicology report from baby Alexis' autopsy showed that the level of morphine in her body would have been lethal for a full-grown adult.

Although Stephanie Greene is reportedly overcome with grief from the loss of her fourth child, the courts found it evident that she was guilty of homicide by child abuse by breastfeeding her child while taking painkillers. Greene suffered chronic pain from a 1998 accident that cracked her skull and pelvis, and Alexis was an unplanned conception. The jury decided that this was no excuse-- especially from a former nurse who surely knew the dangerous implications of taking painkillers while breastfeeding.

Greene received the minimum sentence for a horrendous crime, and her lawyers plan to appeal. This is the first case in the United States of a mother being convicted of homicide through substances transmitted in breast milk. Greene also faces 38 counts of obtaining drugs through fraud that may or may not be pursued.

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