After Donna Horger injected her chronically ill mother with insulin, she would later tell authorities that she hoped the 74-year-old "would not wake up and just pass."
But Mary Horger, who suffers from dementia and osteoporosis, did not die.
Instead, her daughter, a licensed pharmacist, was arrested for attempted murder. Authorities say the 50-year-old resident of Feasterville, Bucks County, surreptitiously gave her immobile mother the injections at least three times last month in an attempt to lower her blood sugar to a fatal level.
Donna Horger's attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, but he told the Associated Press that his client was only attempting to put "her mother at peace and end her suffering."
On Aug. 18, Mary Horger was found unresponsive at the Immaculate Mary Center for Rehabilitation and Health Care in Philadelphia and then transported to Abington Hospital in Montgomery County, according to court documents.
Doctors there found Horger was suffering from hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which in severe cases can cause permanent brain damage and heart problems. If left untreated, it can be fatal. Authorities said Horger does not have diabetes or take insulin.
Three days later, Horger was again found unresponsive and suffering from hypoglycemia, according to the documents.
When it happened a third time Aug. 30, doctors began to get suspicious. Horger's attending physician at Abington ordered some tests, authorities said, and found the additional insulin in his patient's body was not naturally produced.
Someone had been injecting it, hospital staff determined. And the person responsible must have a medical background or else he or she would not know what insulin can do to a non-diabetic person, according to the documents. Had nurses not caught each episode in time, the older woman would not be alive, doctors said.
At the hospital, Abington Township police talked with her daughter Donna Horger, who admitted to administering the insulin injections on three occasions. Later, Horger gave police a written statement. According to the documents, Donna Horger told police she simply wanted her mother's pain and suffering to end.
Mary Horger had been in and out of nursing homes since February. As of last week, she remained at Abington Hospital.