the sleuth journal
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00 UTC
Yeah. It happened. At Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Jodi Ferris had planned a homebirth, but when things progressed too quickly for even the midwife to arrive, her husband called an ambulance, and their daughter was born on the way to the hospital. Story link.
When they arrived at the hospital, there was a lot of activity. Jodi asked a lot of questions about the care and condition of her daughter. Part of that was because she received conflicting answers.
And then? Angela Lopez-Heagy arrived. The government social worker. She announced that she was there to conduct an investigation, the allegations of which she refused to divulge.
Jodi told the social worker that she wasn't comfortable answering questions unless she knew what the allegations were. (Go girl.) Jodi's husband was with their other children back at home, arranging care for them so he could join her at the hospital.
The social worker threatened Jodi that if she didn't answer the questions, she would call the police and take custody of the newborn, Annie. Then, she grilled Jodi about why she didn't consent to the Hepatitis B vaccination for Annie. This is about a vaccination consent?!! There were other questions, too... They were more generalized.
Periodically, the social worker left the room during this interrogation. And when she did? A hospital staff member blocked the door to prevent Jodi from leaving her room. She was, for all purposes, held prisoner in her hospital room.
And then? The social worker came back with a "safety plan." Jodi asked to see it. It wasn't written on paper yet. It was a carte blanche verbal consent to "whatever the hospital wants." And if she didn't? Angela Lopez-Heagy would take custody of Annie.
Jodi asked to wait for her husband. The social worker said no. A police officer instructed Jodi to hand Annie to a nurse. Jodi begged the social worker to allow her to sign the "safety plan." She would do whatever it took to keep custody, but the social worker said, "That window has closed." They took the baby. The officer escorted Jodi out of the hospital and off the hospital's property.
No. I'm not kidding!
Jodi spent the night in the parking lot across the street, with her husband, in their car. They were allowed, every 3 hours, to return in order to breastfeed Annie (but they weren't allowed to linger).
The next morning, a judge returned custody to Jodi and her husband. And two weeks later, he dismissed the case against them that the social worker had filed.
Now? The Ferris' are suing the social worker and the medical staff who seized Annie. They filed in March. In July, the defendants motioned to have the suit dismissed. Last week, the judge denied the motion, and the suit will proceed. Good luck to them. As far as I'm concerned, they're fighting for my rights, too.
What do you think about this case?