A Montgomery County couple is accused of neglect because their little boy was so severely malnourished, doctors at CHOP said it was one of the worst cases of its kind that they'd ever seen. They compared it to starving kids in a third world country, according to court documents obtained by NBC10 Reporter Deanna Durante. The six-year-old weighed only 29 pounds.
"What he looked like at the time of his admission was appalling," said Montgomery County assistant district attorney, Samantha Cauffman.
According to court documents, the little boy's stomach was distended, his skin was peeling and he was so weak he could not walk.
"He obviously didn't get that way overnight," Cauffman told NBC10. "His caregivers allowed that to persist to such a point that he was almost dead upon admission [to the hospital]."
Prosecutors allege that the couple had to be told by two different doctors that their six-year-old needed emergency medical care. Doctors told prosecutors that the parents didn't trust the doctors or advice they were getting and couldn't rationally care for their child.
Victor and Oliafa Ramos are charged with conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault and simple assault.
"Many people did fail this child," Cauffman said.
The court documents provide a time line that dates back to March 9, 2012 when the victim was first seen by a local doctor.
March 9: Doctor says child is malnourished and needs emergency medical care. Parents tell doctor they will comply. The doctor reports the parents, Victor and Oliafa Ramos, to ChildLine which is a child abuse and neglect registry where complaints can be filed and investigated.
March 16: Child is seen by second doctor who tells parents to take him to The Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, ASAP. Parent stake child to CHOP. He's admitted as a "near death fatality." Staff says, "child is one of worst cases ever seen, comparing his condition to starving kids in 3rd world countries."
April 25: CHOP releases child to parents with condition that they follow medical nutritional guidelines and that the little boy's treatment plan is monitored by the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth.
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May 11: Child brought back to CHOP with skin rash. Hospital wants to re-admit. Parents refuse.
May 18: Child brought back to CHOP with low protein levels. Re-admitted.
May 31: CHOP releases child to parent with feeding tube inserted.
June 20: Parents arrested by Montgomery County detectives and members of the county prosecutor's office.
Victor and Oliafa Ramos were freed on bail and set to be formally charged in court on Thursday.
Another family member is caring now for the little boy.