Mom accused of forcing surgeries on 7-year-old daughter for years

A New Jersey mom was indicted by a grand jury yesterday after allegedly forcing her 7-year-old daughter to undergo multiple surgeries. According to the jury, the surgeries were "unnecessary and potentially harmful."

Malinda Lugin, the 36-year-old mother, allegedly began the abuse while she was pregnant with her daughter. From the time of the girl's birth, Lugin was making doctors think that her child was sick. Authorities have not detailed the exams and surgeries that the girl was forced to undergo, but one criminal complaint states that the girl had a feeding tube in her stomach that pumped infant formula into her body.

The charges against Lugin are based on Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental illness that causes a caretaker to report fake symptoms for a child's illness to get attention. Although the abuse has been happening "since she was in utero," the child was determined to be perfectly healthy except for a small allergy to strawberries.

If Lugin is convicted, she faces between five and 10 years in prison.

Watch this video to learn more about Munchausen syndrome by proxy:

Psychologist Explains Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

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