Emilie A. Rothert
A Kingsport woman has been arrested after her 1-year-old son overdosed on Suboxone — a prescription medication used to treat opioid dependence — and she delayed seeking help for the vomiting child.
Police say the woman called poison control and was told to immediately take her son to the emergency room. She instead waited before transporting him to a fire station, pushing back his treatment at the hospital to 90 minutes after her original call.
The incident occurred as she was trying to get the child "to go to sleep," she told police. She said a cat must have knocked her bottle of pills off a windowsill when she left the room.
Emilie A. Rothert, 20, of 3604 Watterson St., Apartment 9, is charged with child abuse and neglect. An affidavit filed in a Hawkins County court says she was arrested by Kingsport police on Monday night.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., police were called to the Kingsport Fire Department's Station 4 on West Stone Drive. Rothert had taken her 1-year-old son to the department after he displayed signs of an overdose, including vomiting.
The child was transported by EMS for treatment at Holston Valley Medical Center, along with constant nurse supervision for 36 hours.
Police say that upon interviewing Rothert they learned she had been trying to get her son "to go to sleep" and was lying down with him on a bed to watch a movie. She got up to use the restroom, returning to find her son was out of bed.
Her Suboxone pill bottle was also spotted "on the floor," according to her statements, and must have been knocked from the windowsill by a cat.
Rothert told police the bottle had contained three pills, but she only found two and one-third of the 8 milligram doses on the floor. She put her son back to bed, and he soon began to vomit. Rothert then said she "started thinking" he had ingested a portion of the pill.
The affidavit says Rothert told Kingsport police that she called poison control and was advised just to watch her son's breathing.
An officer reports later checking with poison control about the call — learning that she was told to immediately take her son to the emergency room.
Police say that from the time of Rothert's contact with poison control to the child's arrival at the hospital by EMS, approximately an hour and a half had elapsed.
The Department of Children's Services was contacted to investigate the incident, with Kingsport police arresting Rothert on charges of child abuse and neglect.
Police say that prior to being transported to the Hawkins County jail, Rothert was requested to consent to a drug screen. She refused.