Social worker credited with uncovering Alton woman hiding daughter’s diabetes

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ALTON, Ill. – Amber Hampshire was charged in the death of her 14-year-old daughter after reportedly concealing her diabetes over the course of several years.

A social worker at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital sensed something was wrong when Hampshire tried explaining why her daughter had been sick in the past.

Doctors first diagnosed Emily Hampshire's diabetes five years ago.

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said Emily’s mother hid it from everyone.

“I don’t know that there’s a way that other people really could’ve known what was going on,” he said.

Gibbons added that we might still not know the truth without the work of a hospital social worker.

“Somebody recognized that something was wrong here and started to reach out and that was what at least allowed us to get to this point to determine that, in fact, Emily’s death was a crime,” he said.

Court records show Amber and her daughter went to St. Louis Children’s Hospital after a diabetes attack in February. At that time, doctors supplied a list of educational materials and insulin. Police said Amber ignored doctors and covered up the illness.

An investigator wrote, “Emily’s school ... receive(d) notification and a medical plan regarding Emily’s diabetes diagnosis. However, they were told by Amber Hampshire ... that the diagnosis was wrong, and they could disregard.”

Emily died in November at a different hospital, Cardinal Glennon, where staff picked up on the earlier February 2018 hospitalization. Hampshire reportedly said it was over pneumonia. Staffers asked Hampshire to authorize the release of her daughter’s medical records but prosecutors allege Hampshire refused that request.

Cardinal Glennon declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation but veteran social worker Michelle Worthy-Freeman said she’s not surprised about the key role played by her profession.

“I was so elated to find out the social worker was a part of this because I think sometimes as social workers, we don’t always – our career is not seen as valuable as it is,” she said. “As long as there’s people, you’ll always need a social worker because people need someone to support them.”

Worthy-Freeman said the hospital social worker may have recognized she would be 14-year-old Emily Hampshire’s only voice.

“Often times we are the voice for those who either they’ve been silenced or they feel they’ve been silenced or they don’t have a voice and so we’re the ones in there fighting for their behalf,” she said.

Amber Hampshire posted a $10,000 cash-only bond and is out of jail awaiting her preliminary hearing on January 18.

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