June 14, 2015
David Rooslet III
Are you a parent? Do you do a good job with your kids? Who should be the judge of whether you deserve to be a parent or not? Should the state have the right to take your child away for any reason they see fit? Should a hospital be able to assume custody of children when parents want to seek a second opinion? Some of these questions sound like they come from a country other than the United States, but this is becoming a reality for many parents trying to do what they feel is the right thing for their child. The problem is, the state disagrees with what they think is the right thing to do. Lets take a look at a few cases that have made the news recently and see what is happening around the states.
15 year old Justina Pelletier was taken from her parents and drugged by hospital.
Many people have heard about the 15 year old from Connecticut, Justina Pelletier, who a few years ago was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a genetic disorder that can cause loss of muscle coordination and weakness. She was hospitalized when she got the flu and was brought to her specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital. A team of doctors reviewed her diagnosis and decided she had somatoform disorder, a mental illness. The parents wanted to question this new assessment and wanted to seek out a second opinion, but were met with Department of Children and Families. The hospital filed for custody of Justina and within 4 days took legal custody of her, accusing the parents of being too active in pursuing health care matters for their child. Once the hospital took custody of Justina, they proceeded to medicate her and prove that their diagnosis was correct. The parents were allowed to visit for only an hour a week, during which time Justina was heavily medicated. They could also call twice a week.
Anna and Alex Nikolayev had their baby taken from them.
How about the couple from California, Anna and Alex Nikolayev, that took their child into a hospital, where they were not satisfied with the care the hospital was giving and decided to bring their child to another hospital. When they did this, the hospital they left filed with Child Protective Services that the parents were “severely neglecting” their child. Police later showed up at their home, dropped the father to the ground, took his keys from his pocket and entered his house. Once inside, they took custody of the child and turned him over to Child Services. The parents were left to file court papers to attempt to get their child back. They now are required to have their medical visits supervised to ensure they are following what the doctor says to do.
Baby Bella was taken from her parents by Boston’s Children’s Hospital
Now we have another case coming out of the same hospital in Massachusetts that took Justine Pelletier. Boston’s Children’s Hospital has seized yet another child over a disagreement on which formula the child should have. Jonathon and Christina Hinote had delivered a premature baby and as many mothers have issues producing enough breast milk for their baby, she switched to formula. Due to the baby developing a case of reflux, only certain formulas were being accepted by her system. They found a formula that worked and the family eventually moved out of Massachusetts to Alabama. They had to substitute the formula with another formula that the baby would keep down. They found one that worked, and had traveled back to Massachusetts, where they saw a pediatrician and he told them to use a different formula. The formula the pediatrician suggested was not received by the the baby’s system resulting in weight loss. The pediatrician called Child Services and blamed the parents for not feeding the child. The couple moved back to Alabama where Child Services in Mass requested Alabama DHR to investigate the family. After a social worker visited the family and cleared them, Mass DCF then contacted the Hinotes and threatened them with criminal charges if they did not return to Mass for an inspection. The frightened family went back to Mass where they were examined by a caseworker who gave them a clean recommendation. This was still not acceptable to DCF and the family was requested to bring the child to Beverly Hospital, where a full medical exam would be administered. DCF then requested a transfer to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where Christina was forced to care for the child round the clock under observation for days. The baby thrived while there, and not a single test was performed on the child. The diagnosis was changed to failure to thrive with no medical cause. Baby Bella was taken from her parents by DCF, who allegedly want to adopt the child out. This was the same day that a National prayer was being led for Justina, who had been taken by the same hospital. There is a petition for Baby Bella at Change.org as well as a facebook page called Fight for Bella. There are many more cases like this happening, making parents feel helpless against a system that makes us question, “who really is the parent anyway?” Where did our country go? If you feel this is an overstepping of government power, please share this and get involved. In Massachusetts, you can call Governor Charlie Baker at (617)727-3666, or Senator Joan Lovely at (617)722-1410, or Representative Paul Tucker (617)722-2400 and request that Baby Bella be returned to her parents. Alabama currently has a Fundamental Parental Rights bill before their legislature to secure the rights of parents in these situations.