Mother cited religious reasons for refusing to admit sick infant to hospital

A Florida mother was arrested after refusing to seek medical treatment for her sick and dehydrated newborn, telling police she preferred to “pursue a religion based treatment” for her child.

Sarah Anne Markham was arrested Tuesday on a charge of child neglect. According to police, a pediatrician told Markham that her baby needed to be admitted to Florida Hospital South for treatment because the child was dehydrated and was losing weight.

However, according to a Casselberry Police Department report, Sarah Anne Markham cited a desire to “pursue a religion based treatment” for her child as her reason for refusing to take her infant daughter to the hospital.

Markham, a strict vegan and Seventh Day Adventist, told police she refused to take the baby to the hospital or listen to her pediatrician because she wanted the child on a vegan diet.

Markham also told police that she did not believe that her baby was dehydrated because the child was having bowel movements. In addition, Markham refused to give her baby the formula and medicine that the doctor provided because “she did not agree with the ingredients it contained, as they came from animals.”

Markham said she had contacted a “natural” or “vegan” doctor but was unable to provide any information about him, other than a name.

The baby was taken to Florida Hospital South for treatment and was placed into state custody.

Markham later bonded out of jail, and was told that she was not going to be allowed to see her child until a court hearing.

Sarah Anne Markham

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