CINCINNATI — A mother is facing charges after police say she knowingly harmed her 4-year-old son while he was a patient at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Jessica Valik, 25, was charged Thursday with one count of felonious assault and one count of endangering a child after police accused her of putting something in her son's feeding tube.
Court documents state the charges are the result of an investigation that included witness testimony.
Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Julie Wilson said the boy was being treated at Children’s Hospital for epidermolysis bullosa — known as EB, for short — a rare, congenital skin disorder. Children suffering from the disease are often referred to as “butterfly children,” because their skin is said to be as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. The condition causes painful blistering, scarring and missing skin.
WCPO first heard about Valik and her son in August, when some friends of hers reached out hoping to spread awareness about the 4-year-old's disease.
According to a website set up to chronicle the boy's treatment, his daily regimen includes bleach baths and bandage changes that can take between 4 and 8 hours to complete. The process often requires hospitalization and heavy medication.
"I start on the outside of his hand above his wrist, and he loves to pull this off, so we keep them on and then start on his wrist and wrap over and over," Valik said in a YouTube clip documenting her son's disease.
The boy also has received hundreds of blood transfusions and two bone marrow transplants, Valik said on her site.
As of now, there is no cure for EB.
"I am hoping this is not true, but if it's true, I am all about my nephew," Valik's brother, David Valik Jr., said. "This just happened, and I don't know what to think. The whole family is emotional as well as myself."
Valik was arraigned Friday morning and jailed at the Hamilton County Detention Center on a combined $250,000 bond. She is due to appear in court again Oct. 13 for a grand jury report.