Auckland mother accused of 'medical child abuse'

An Auckland mother who videoed her eight-month-old son while he was struggling to breathe is facing nine charges of neglect.

The charges also relate to the woman's daughter, who was taken for more than 100 doctor and hospital visits.

In her opening address to the High Court trial in Auckland, Crown prosecutor Melissa Hammer said the mother fabricated illness relating to fevers and seizures and this led to unnecessary medical testing and overdosing on drugs.

Defence lawyer Susan Gray says the woman suffered from debilitating anxiety and did not intentionally harm either of her children, ever.

"She rang doctors regularly because she was anxious and over-protective, not because she was intentionally trying to cause them harm," said Ms Gray. 

Police first started investigating the woman late 2015 when the woman called ambulance saying her eight-month-old son had stopped breathing.  When she arrived at hospital, she showed staff three separate video clips she had taken on her phone over the period of one minute.

The Crown says medical staff later believe she had intentionally obstructed his airway.

Two charges also relate to the swallowing of objects, which the Crown argues was instigated by the mother.

They say her daughter swallowed a coin and on a later occasion her son swallowed a button battery, while the mother was on a supervised visit of her children in July last year.

Ms Hammer said this is a case of child abuse but it's not straightforward, calling it "medical child abuse" - being child abuse by unnecessary medical treatment.

The trial is set down for a month.