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Parenting and Child Protection

May 1, 2013 - Colleen Carpenter
The older I get, the more cynical I become. I'm not sure if that's typical or if I'm just strange. I recently read an article about the parents of an infant having law enforcement called on them after they took the child from the hospital, to a nearby hospital for a second opinion. Additional information reported is: - Hospital #1 gave baby unnecessary antibiotics - Baby was being treated for a heart murmer and suspected flu - Parents expressed desire for 2nd opinion and hospital #1 would not discharge baby - Parents took baby directly from hospital 1 to hospital 2 for second opinion.

Okay, this is where I'm just blown away. hospital 1 called the cops and were met at hospital 2 by law enforcement. Hospital 2 examined the baby and determined he was healthy enough to go home and that the treating physician had no concerns over the parents' abilities to care for the baby. As if that isn't bad enough, the next day, Child Protective Services shows up on the parents' doorstep with an order to remove the baby from their custody, where he was taken back to hospital 1. There was a hearing where it was ordered that baby be treated at a 3rd hospital and that the parents must follow doctor's orders and social services have to make regular visits.

Even with the number of stories in the news about terrible parents, the fact remains that most parents will do what they think is in the best interest of their children. I do not understand how taking your child from one hospital to another for a second opinion can be interpreted as endangering the child. If the baby was that unstable, hospital 1 should have transferred the baby via ambulance. But that wasn't the case. Hospital 2 didn't even admit the baby while hospital 1 was pushing for heart surgery for the 5 month old.

As a society, we need to take a long hard look at the trampling of a parent's freedom to parent. I'm not suggesting parents be allowed to abuse or neglect their children. I'm not even objecting to the idea that the doctor at hospital 1 call CPS to investigate. But that's where the line was, and often is crossed. What made the doctor at hospital 2 any less right than the first one? I'm hopeful that hospital 1 was truly concerned about this child and wasn't making a power play. Either way, this family, already trying to cope with the stress of an ill child now has to be under the microscope of social services just for wanting a second opinion on a surgery.

Is there more to this story? Undoubtedly. When you have a kid with special needs or even just a sick kid, your parental instincts kick in and you just want what's best (yes, that's a very general statement). I'm troubled at the abuse of power in this case. These parents were clearly not neglectful! We are taught to not question authority, but when faced with decisions about your child's well-being, we tend to pause a little longer, stand a little taller and think harder about whether to stand against what we think is best or to concede to a so-called "expert" and hold your breath hoping your instinct is wrong.


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