CLINTON — A Clinton woman pleaded guilty to a felony child endangerment charge.
Elisia I. Bruggenwirth, 29, 232 N. Third St., appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court and pleaded guilty to child endangerment causing bodily injury, a Class D felony. The plea agreement states the factual basis for the plea included Bruggenwirth, by an intentional act, used unreasonable force in shoving a child into a table, causing bodily injury. The plea is an open plea and no promises are made in regard to sentencing. The defense requested a deferred docket search. The court ordered a pre-sentence investigation report be conducted by the Seventh Judicial District Department of Corrections. Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 14.
According to the affidavit, on July 2, 2015, Bruggenwirth took her son to Mercy Medical Center for an unknown medical problem. Bruggenwirth told medical staff and a representative of the Iowa Department of Human Services that her son had fallen off a toilet and hit his head. Bruggenwirth also noticed her son’s stomach was larger than normal but thought he was getting the flu.
The affidavit states once at the hospital it was determined by medical staff that Bruggenwirth’s son had a perforated bowel. The child was intubated and taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, where he had surgery for a perforated bowel. The child during the first surgery had 25 centimeters of his intestinal segment removed from his abdomen. The child had two more surgeries, removing 10 centimeters and 15 centimeters of his intestinal segment. Medical staff determined the child had developed septic shock, which is a life-threatening condition that could have led to death. Medical staff at the University of Iowa classified the injury as an injury consistent with blunt force trauma.
The affidavit states in the medical report the doctor noted the child’s intra-abdominal injuries were clearly of a traumatic origin. The injuries were consistent with somebody hitting the child, which led to the injuries, or the child could have fallen against a rigid object in an accelerated manner, such as during a car accident or bicycle accident.
The affidavit continues that during several interviews with Bruggenwirth, she stated the child had not fallen off anything very high. She added he was not in a car accident and had not fallen from a bicycle. Bruggenwirth was interviewed by a DHS worker. An officer met with Bruggenwirth at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and she denied any knowledge of her son’s injuries.
The affidavit states that during another interview at the Clinton Police Department, Bruggenwirth admitted a few days prior to her son going to the hospital there was an incident at the house. Bruggenwirth stated she was frustrated with her son because he was not eating his food and continued to push away from the table as he sat in his chair. Bruggenwirth pushed her son back to the table several times but stated she lost her temper and shoved her son into the table too hard. Her son stated she hurt his tummy. Bruggenwirth stated she knew right away she hurt him and picked him up. Bruggenwirth believed this happened five days prior to taking her son to the hospital.
The affidavit states that after the interview, the officer met with University of Iowa medical staff and they agreed this type of force could be consistent with the cause of the injuries to her son. Bruggenwirth knew she hurt her son, there were several signs of his injuries, including a swollen stomach, not eating and bowel problems, and Bruggenwirth waited several days before taking her son to the hospital. Bruggenwirth’s son had three surgeries and lost 50 centimeters of his intestinal segment because of the injuries.