CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hospital officials at MUSC say a 17-year-old Summerville mother was arrested after she stuffed a piece of cotton down her child's throat, covered her with a blanket and walked away at the children's hospital last Friday.
An incident report states that officers responded to the MUSC Children's Hospital in reference to a mother harming her own child. An employee told officers that the mother, identified in court records as Chevonne Deandra Younginer of Summerville, was videotaped stuffing an object into the baby's mouth and then several seconds later requesting assistance because the baby was not breathing.
Younginer is charged with unlawful conduct towards a child. She was released Saturday on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. According to officials, the baby has been placed into protective custody with the Berkeley County Department of Social Services while the investigation is ongoing.
When the video was reviewed, officers say they saw Younginer tear a cotton ball sized object from a stuffed animal's hat and push the object into the baby's mouth. According to the report, after several seconds Younginer pushed the object further into the child's mouth and walked away. Almost immediately the tape shows the child begins to struggle to breathe.
Police say the white object in the child's mouth could be seen on the tape. Soon after, nurses appear in the room and begin hitting the child on the back until she coughed up the white object. MUSC police arrested Younginer minutes later.
According to MUSC officials, the reason the baby was under video surveillance was because the child had suffered from "numerous, life-threatening episodes."
Officers told Younginer that they were taking emergency protective custody of her child until a complete investigation could be done by DSS. The suspect explained that her daughter was admitted into the hospital two weeks ago because she "frequently quits breathing or starts choking."
Younginer also said that her child had been doing this for almost her entire life and that she herself was proud of herself because she had become good at performing CPR on her baby "so she doesn't die."
After authorities reviewed the tape, officers placed Younginer under arrest. Younginer then told authorities that she understood her rights and stated for the record she had in fact saved her child's life two times while in the hospital.
Younginer further told authorities that the nurses had began to accuse her of harming her baby.
According to an incident report, when safety officials told the suspect that her actions were caught on video tape, Younginer refused to answer any more questions.
MUSC Public Safety officers also said that when they took Younginer into custody, she said she was going to faint. One officer said he walked out of the briefing room to relieve a dispatcher in the dispatch room, which contains surveillance cameras, and noticed that Younginer looked around to make sure no one was watching before lowering herself to the floor and kicking a chair, to make it seem like she had fainted.