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Police: Child unable to walk, needs blood transfusions after severe lice infestation; Mom facing charges

According to court documents, two children were taken to a hospital with severe lice infestation. One child was near death, the hospital said.

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. — A mother in Scottsburg is facing three counts of child neglect after one of her two children was declared a "near fatality" — partly because of a lice infestation.

Doctors in the area not only said they were shocked by the situation but said it was 100% preventable. 

"This is very rare. This is the exception, not the norm," said Catherine Webb, an infection and prevention manager for Scott Memorial Hospital.

According to court documents, two children were brought to the hospital with severe lice infestation. One of the children's infestation was so severe, the hospital said the four-year-old was near death.

In the probable cause affidavit, Steven Herald with Scottsburg City Police wrote that the photographs of the children, ages four and six, were "like nothing I had ever seen before."

The four-year-old could no longer walk and needed four blood transfusions. The affidavit said the child's hemoglobin levels were 1.7 rather than the normal 12. Webb said a case of lice being this severe is uncommon. 

"It is extremely rare to have a case that is this severe," Webb said. "I think you can see through this case that if it does go on and on it can lead to that but in my opinion, it would be a very high infestation that has gone on for a long period of time."

The children have been placed in the care of their maternal grandparents.

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