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OTTAWA COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) -
An Ottawa County toddler has had multiple surgeries and medical treatments for a rare disease her parents claimed she had. But now doctors are wondering if the little girl was ever sick at all.
Emalin Harader is currently being treated at the Cleveland Clinic for a diagnosis of Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. However, the medical staff is questioning the diagnosis and treatments the toddler has received, which have all been based largely on reported symptoms from her parents, Taunya and Scott Harader.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office has completed their investigation on the family, and says the parents lied about Emalin's illness.
The Haraders say Emalin was diagnosed with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome when she was only four months old. Now, at two and a half, doctors have tested her again and say she doesn't have it.
The Cleveland Clinic told Ottawa County investigators that Taunya is resistant to Emalin's progress. Hospital workers have started weaning Emalin off of feeding tubes for fear of infection, but investigators say Taunya was against it. Doctors say Taunya told them Emalin was having bad side effects, but they could not confirm that.
Emalin was assigned a 24-hour sitter by the hospital. There have been no problems since then.
Doctors also say Taunya is pushing for what they say are unneeded organ transplants.
"When a baby is a baby and a baby does not feel well, the mother takes that baby to the doctor and says, 'These are my baby's symptoms. This is what is happening,'" said Det. Amanda Cross. "And if a mother goes into a doctor's office and either gives false symptoms or exaggerates the symptoms, you are going to get a false diagnosis of what is wrong with the baby."
Cross says Taunya's claims led doctors to do invasive surgeries, including removing part of Emalin's pancreas. The family has also been to five different hospitals. Two in Cleveland, one in Cincinnati and two in Florida.
According to the investigative report, however, Emalin will remain at the Cleveland Clinic until she reaches the goal of being fed on her own, all lines are removed and medications have stopped.
A fundraising website has been set up for Emalin Harader to help support her and pay for uncovered medical expenses. However, the sheriff's report says Emalin receives assistance through Medicaid and they suggest people be cautious about the efforts. As of Friday afternoon, just over $7,000 has been raised through the website.
"We can't tell them not to donate, but we are just going to say be very leery of what you are donating to and what you presume this money is going to go to possibly is not what it is actually for," Cross said.
Findings from the investigation have been turned over to the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office. They say they are waiting on more medical records to determine if charges will be filed.