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Doctor questions Alton teen's diabetes death

"Living with type one diabetes untreated? Unheard of," said Dr. George Thampy, a diabetes expert.

New questions are coming up in the case of an Alton teen who died from untreated diabetes.

Prosecutors charged her mother with involuntary manslaughter this week. She's accused of not treating her daughter's illness, which prosecutors said led to the girl's death.

RELATED: Police: Alton mom hid daughter's diabetes diagnosis for years resulting in daughter's death

The big question: How did 14-year-old Emily Hampshire survive five years with untreated diabetes?

The expert we spoke to was skeptical and believes there's more to her death and this story than we currently know.

In the past five years, Emily was diagnosed not once, but twice with type-one diabetes. Each time, documents show, her mother Amber Hampshire was informed of the diagnosis.

It's a serious, even dangerous condition, and yet totally treatable.
But endocrinologist Dr. George Thampy said it does require constant attention.

"It's a spiraling condition that could lead to coma or death, if not treated immediately, especially in a child," said Dr. Thampy.

But Alton police say Emily never received that treatment and say her mother Amber took steps to hide her daughter's disease.

For instance, court documents show a doctor sent the staff at Emily's school a medical plan to handle her condition. But her mother — who worked there as a pre-school teacher — told staff it was wrong, and to disregard it.

And recent Facebook photos show a strikingly thin Emily. It's something Dr. Thampy believes could've been tied to her condition.

"You see weight loss. In a day they lose weight," said Dr. Thampy.

But Dr.Thampy, a diabetes specialist, is still struggling with how Emily survived five years without any treatment.

"I'm still puzzled with the diagnosis. If a type-one doesn't get treated, within hours they will be in the hospital with ketoacidosis and coma. Living with type one diabetes untreated? Unheard of," said Dr. Thampy.

RELATED: Neighbors say Alton mother who hid daughter's diabetes appeared to be great mom

Court documents show that ultimately, Emily did indeed die of ketoacidosis. It's a serious complication that results from not having enough insulin.

There have also been questions about whether the cost of insulin deterred Amber Hampshire from seeking treatment. Dr. Thampy said cost can be a factor. But ultimately he believes one thing.

"There is more to this than what I'm hearing," said Dr. Thampy. 

Madison County Prosecutor Tom Gibbons tells us he does have information on how Amber Hampshire managed her child's illness. But he says he can't discuss the details.

A preliminary hearing will be scheduled in the next few weeks. Amber Hampshire is currently out on $100,000 bond.

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