Mother Refused to Take Sick Child to Hospital Over Vegan Beliefs

Police arrested Sarah Anne Markham of Casselberry, Fla. today after she reportedly refused to have her newborn child eat or be treated with non-vegan food or medicine. The child, dehydrated and losing weight, was eventually taken to the hospital and placed into state custody. Markham was charged by police with child neglect.

According to WESH Orlando, Markham, 23, was informed by her doctor that her 12-day-old child was dehydrated and needed to be admitted to a hospital. Her doctor also gave her medicine, but according to police, she refused to administer the drugs to the child because it contained non-vegan ingredients.

WKMG reports that when police arrived at her home, Markham refused to answer the door and police were forced to call a locksmith to get inside and speak with her. Markham told police that she was waiting to get a second opinion and was interested in a "religious-based treatment." She said that she did not believe her child was dehydrated because it was still having regular bowel movements.

Markham apparently was not feeding her child the formula given to her by doctors. Instead, she was feeding the child an organic soy formula she had purchased at Whole Foods. From WKMG:

Markham said she did not give the formula/medicine that the doctor provided because she did not agree with the ingredients, which she said came from animals, the police report stated.

Markham said she purchased organic soy formula, and when asked if she confirmed with a doctor if it was safe for a newborn, she said that if Whole Foods Market sells it then the formula doesn't contain any animal parts and, therefore, must be safe, according to police.

Police were eventually able to convince Markham to take her child to the hospital because, according to the police report obtained by WESH Orlando, "she felt she had no other choice." Markham was later released from jail on bond and will not be able to see her child until a court hearing.

[Image via WESH Orlando]