Name: Samantha Lauren Martin.
Died: December 3, 2006.
Age at death: 13.
Cause of death: Medical neglect (Fatal seizure; foster caregivers did not have the resources to deal with her medical needs).
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Samantha was born with tetrasomy 18p, a genetic disorder that caused autism, developmental delays, and epilepsy.
Her family was told that in order to get proper medical care, they would have to surrender custody to the Canadian government, which they did. Samantha spent over ten years in foster care.
However, Samantha’s foster home did not care for her. She had absence seizures at school, but they were ignored. She didn’t see a doctor for years at a time.
Samantha’s family finally managed to regain custody of her, but years of neglect had taken their toll, and she died of cardiac arrest at the age of 13.
Samantha’s family helped pass a new law, known as Samantha’s Law, which states that no family should ever be ordered to relinquish custody of a disabled child in order to ensure proper medical treatment.