That’s right, don’t you dare ask any questions. The government really does know best.
You want to have a baby? You’d better not even think of trying to have it at home. And if hospital or government officials ask you questions, you had better cooperate, or they might just take yo kids.
That’s what Scott and Jodi Ferris found out.
Michael P. Farris, attorney and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association has taken up their case.
He said among the issues in the case: social service workers who called police when a new mother wanted tests before authorizing shots for her child, a hospital that ejected the new mom from its property over the issue, a social service “investigation” into the birth, and others.
Jodi had gone into labor early and the midwife they had hoped would deliver their baby encouraged them to head to a hospital. They did.
“Their baby, whom I will call ‘Annie,’ was born in the ambulance in the parking lot of the Hershey Medical Center – a government hospital in Pennsylvania. Hospital personnel arrived very quickly and took charge of both baby and mom,” he reported.
But when Jodi asked nurses about her baby, “the hospital staff was utterly unresponsive. When they started to give Jodi an injection, she asked what it was and what is was for. They gave her vague answers like, ‘It’s just to help.’”
Farris said eventually a physician told Jodi her baby scored a 9 on a physical exam applied to newborns known as the APGAR test, where a score of 8 or higher is considered healthy.
But then another doctor said the baby was “very sick” and would need to stay in the hospital.
Continuing the back-and-forth, another hospital staffer then said the baby was doing good but that was followed several hours later by a worker who told the couple their baby must stay in the hospital for 48 to 72 hours.
“‘The law requires us to keep the baby for 48 hours,’” they were told, according to the HSLDA, which noted there is no such law in Pennsylvania.
Ultimately, a hospital “risk management” staff member admitted that the risk that was being managed was not the health of the child, but the risk that the hospital might get sued if something went wrong after the baby was released.
Then, according to the HSLDA, “a government social worker named Angelica Lopez-Heagy came into Jodi’s room announcing that she was there to conduct an investigation. Jodi asked to know the allegations. The social worker claimed that it would be against the law for her to show Jodi the allegations.
“Jodi replied that she would not be comfortable answering the questions if she couldn’t know the allegations. Immediately the social worker proclaimed, ‘Since you’re not going to cooperate, I’ll just go and call the police and we can take custody of the baby.’”
The mixups just wouldn’t quit. When Jodi said she was cooperating, the social worker implied the issue was Jodi’s refusal to consent to a vitamin K shot for the baby.
“Jodi replied that no one had asked her about such a shot. Moreover, she had overheard hospital staffers saying that they had already given Annie such a shot,” the report said.
Then, when Scott left the hospital to tend to their older children, hospital officials demanded permission to give Annie a Hepatitis B shot.
“Jodi said that she would agree only if they tested her or Annie to see if either of them were positive. If so, then she was quite willing to have the shot for Annie. The hospital claimed that they had forgotten about this earlier when it was still possible to test that day, and that they needed to give the shot anyway without any testing,” HSLDA reported.
Jodi asked if the decision could wait until her husband returned.
“Put yourself in Jodi’s shoes at this moment,” Farris wrote. “You gave birth that morning in an ambulance. The hospital has made wild and conflicting claims about your baby’s health all day long. You are exhausted. You are in pain. Your husband has gone to check on your children. And a social worker who has threatened to take your baby into police custody is standing in your hospital room demanding that you make an immediate decision.”
Then, he reported, “the story turns ugly.”
“The social worker left the room and called the police. Without a court order they took custody of Annie, immediately claiming that she was suffering from illness or injury – a patently false claim. The social worker consented to the administration of the Hepatitis B shot even though no blood test had been done,” he reported.
“The police made Jodi Ferris get up out of her hospital bed and escorted her to the entrance – they were expelling her from the hospital because she had not signed the ‘safety plan.’”
She was escorted off the hospital grounds.
But she had been told she could return every three hours to nurse the baby, so the couple was forced to spend the night in a car in the parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart.
“You read that right. They kicked this mother out of the hospital, and in order to be close enough to feed her child, she had to sleep in the car,” Farris reported.
A hearing the next morning returned the baby to her parents immediately.
“It is not a crime to ask questions about the well-being of your child. It is not a crime to ask for testing to ensure that a procedure is needed before it is done. It is not a crime to be a protective mom,” Farris reported.
“Both the medical personnel and the social worker engaged in outrageous behavior toward this family. And we believe that they violated their rights under the Constitution of the United States. And we are going to court to prove it,” Farris said.
“The social worker’s priority was not the welfare of Annie, but her own convenience and her own perception of her power. She was aiming to teach this homeschooling mother a lesson. And the hospital was clearly not concerned that Annie had a medical issue – they were just trying to avoid being sued for medical malpractice.
“When government workers run over parents in cases like this, the lesson that needs to be taught is to the government,” he said.
This may be getting blown a little out of proportion, I don’t know. But it stinks none the less. I hope that a thorough investigation is done into this.