Health Impact News
The Texas mother of a four-month old baby girl writes, “I just want her back home in my arms and love and kiss on her! To hold her and never let go!” But it has been a month now since little Kathryn Hughes was literally taken out of her mother’s arms by CPS and the UMC Children’s Hospital in Lubbock, Texas, in what appears to be another medical kidnapping.
Lorie Blalock, the mother of Kathryn, feels as though she is living a nightmare, amidst contradictory information and diagnoses from the doctors. Despite doing everything she could to follow all of the doctors’ instructions, her baby was abruptly removed from her custody and is now in medical foster care away from the family who loves her.
Baby Kathryn’s Story
Kathryn was born on June 9, 2014, with a rare genetic condition called Pierre Robin Sequence. She also has a cleft soft palate and feeding problems that go along with it. Originally, Kathryn was diagnosed with craniostenosis, an abnormality in the fusion of the skull plates. That diagnosis was later thrown out, but now the doctors have gone back to the original diagnosis.
She has experienced a number of medical problems in her short life, but despite the confusion, her mother has always followed the doctors’ directives, trusting that they knew best. Now that system has turned on her and her daughter.
Lorie sought to give her baby the best start in life that she could, paying attention to good nutrition and prenatal care with a licensed midwife. Even though she had planned for a natural birth, Lorie felt intuitively that something was wrong at the end. Though continual fetal monitoring at the hospital showed variable decels for six hours, with the heart rate going up to 180 with each contraction, the staff assured her that everything was fine. Lorie’s maternal instincts proved correct. During the emergency c-section that she readily agreed to, they found that the cord was wrapped around her baby’s neck twice and was causing complications.
Because of her own history of reactions to certain vaccines with convulsions and an 18 hour period of unresponsiveness, Lorie requested that the only shot that her newborn be given would be the Vitamin K shot. Her concern was ignored, and Kathryn was given the Hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital.
From the beginning, Kathryn was having difficulty feeding, which is very common for babies with cleft palates. Lorie sought help from the hospital’s nurses and lactation consultant. After that, the baby latched on immediately, but had a weak suck. The nurses said it was nothing, blaming it on the anesthesia. It was the lactation consultant who figured out that Kathryn had a cleft soft palate.
Seizures and Medical Problems
In late July, Kathryn began to have seizures.
On September 4, baby Kathryn had an ALTE (acute life threatening event) where she stopped breathing. Her family took her to the local hospital, where they airlifted her to UMC in Lubbock. That is where mother and baby would spend the next two weeks. It was determined that they would do surgery to insert a gbutton in order to insert a long-term feeding tube into her stomach. It would remain until she could have surgery to correct the cleft palate.
The surgery went well, but by the 15th, Kathryn began urinating more than she was taking in. She underwent a number of tests. On the 17th, she threw up 5 times in a 15 minute period. Just before this, her fortified breastmilk had been switched to formula. After more tests were performed, Kathryn was released to go home with her mother.
During the entire two week hospital stay, pictures of her show a happy baby. Her mother reports episodes of baby giggles, even in her sleep. With all the surgeries, and tests, meds, and wires, Kathryn was a happy and secure little girl, as can be seen in numerous pictures. Her mother spent the entire two weeks by her side, holding and nurturing her, only leaving the room for brief trips to the cafeteria.
Though they couldn’t figure out the cause of the seizures, it appeared that the medications were getting the seizures under control. The nurses showed Lorie how to give Kathryn the proper dosage of medications via the gbutton. They went home on Thursday, September 18, after a two-week ordeal.
Back to Hospital – CPS Steps In and Takes Custody
It was short-lived. Only two days later, on the 20th, Kathryn again began having seizures, and was rushed to UMC.
The next day, CPS and the staff at UMC informed Lorie that they were taking custody of Kathryn over the medical condition. She was only out of the hospital’s care for two days between September 4th and the 21st. Her mother had to beg to be able to at least say goodbye.
Lorie was stunned and devastated as they literally took baby Kathryn out of her arms, accusing her of not giving her the medications. She insists that she followed their instructions on how to give it to a T, detailing every step of the complicated process to me. The basis for the accusation was simply a test that showed that the level of phenobarbital in her bloodstream was 9.5 mg, but it should have been at least 10 mg.
Since that time, Lorie reports that she has learned that seizures lower the level of phenobarbital in the bloodstream, so logically it would go down after the three seizures that day. She also reports that a nurse was supposed to come to her home each day for Kathryn, but “the nurse called me and said that she could have been here, but CPS told her not to.” Had she come, she would have witnessed the giving of the medications. The nurse could been able to correct any mistakes that she was making if she saw any. Other non-medical people were witnesses that Lorie did what the hospital told her to do, but CPS did not appear interested in hearing from them.
Lori has twins who are almost two, born prematurely, who are generally healthy. They take albuterol as needed. There has never been any question that she has given medications appropriately to the twins. Lorie cannot understand why she is being accused of such now, when she followed all of the hospital’s instructions for her baby’s care.
CPS and Texas Attempt to Terminate All Parental Rights
The paperwork describing the case for removing baby Kathryn from her mother’s care is filled with contradictions, discrepancies, and according to Lorie, statements that simply are not true. On October 15, the state attempted to terminate all parental rights, but the Blalock’s attorney was able to keep that from going through. But, the battle is far from over.
Lorie and the rest of the family have only been permitted to see Kathryn twice in the month since the state took over custody. The last time was two weeks ago. For a four month old baby, two weeks is an eternity without mom. There is no way for her to comprehend what has happened to her.
Despite all the tests and procedures, when mom was with her, as moms are supposed to be, Kathryn was secure and happy. It’s clear from the photographs.
A Family’s Nightmare
Then, there are heartbreaking photos of baby Kathryn from the family’s first visit, an entire week after CPS kidnapped Kathryn. She is obviously different. She is distant, and despondent. She doesn’t make eye contact. The contrast between the pictures before and after she is taken is stark, and jarring. When babies aren’t with their mommies, it is devastating to them. No government official or hospital personnel can possibly substitute.
On Monday, Lorie poured out her heart in a heart-rending post on the family’s Facebook Page. All she wants to do is hold her baby and have her back in her arms, where she belongs.
“Can’t sleep. Everyone is asleep but me and all I can think about is my baby girl. Just have this gut wrenching heart twisting feeling something is wrong….. don’t know why but I just do. And I know she is crying extremely bad I can feel it in my breasts…. still every cry and severity of cry I feel… and feel milk fill up…. Even though there is very little milk left……
“Miss her and love her so much and would do anything to comfort her and hold her skin to skin on my chest and let her listen and relax to my scent my touch the sound of my heartbeat!!!!
“Please pray that she is okay! That God keeps his protecting arms wrapped around her and heals her!!!!!”
It has been a month since baby Kathryn has been taken from her home. Babies are fairly flexible in that home is simply where mommy is. Psychologists tell us that the place where babies want to be is skin-to-skin with mom. When they are separated, the baby feels abandoned. Even Lorie’s 2 year old twins look for their sister Kathryn and cry since she is gone. They don’t understand this injustice either.
It is time for the public to be aware of the story of baby Kathryn Hughes who has been medically kidnapped from loving parents and siblings. Help us get this story out there.
About the Author
Terri LaPoint is a labor doula, childbirth and breastfeeding educator, and assistant midwife. She holds a B.S. in Cultural Anthropology/World Missions with a minor in Behavioral Science from Toccoa Falls College. She is a homeschool mom, speaker, and writer, married to the love of her life for more than 20 years. She is a passionate defender of freedom and endeavors to be a voice for the voiceless.
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