Health Impact News Editor Comments
The fact that Medical Kidnappings have become so common is now reaching the mainstream media, who are beginning to investigate stories in their local communities. This report comes to us from WMTW 8 in Maine.
In this report, reporter Katie Thompson interviews the parents of 2-month old Ryder Ross, who was taken away from his family when they brought him into the emergency room because his leg was swollen. X-rays allegedly revealed multiple fractures in various stages of healing throughout Ryder’s body.
Doctors reported them to Child Protection Services (DHHS in Maine) for child abuse, and they lost custody.
However, blood work showed vitamin D and calcium deficiencies in the baby, and a doctor at Boston Medical Center diagnosed the baby with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which doctors say is not all that rare.
“Somewhere around one in five-thousand individuals probably have this disorder and its significantly under diagnosed,” said Dr. Jeff Milunsky, with the Center for Human Genetics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The couple is still fighting to get their child back, however, as the father has been charged with criminal charges of child abuse.
Couple hopes diagnosis will reunite family, end child abuse allegations
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome mimics signs of abuse
A family broken apart by allegations of child abuse could be brought back together again because of the diagnosis of a not-so-rare condition that every parent should know about.
It has been more than five months since Brandon Ross, 25, of Bath, last saw his 2-month-old son, Ryder. He is allowed supervised visits with his 2-year-old daughter, Rosalynn. Ross and his wife, Cynthia, have had their parenting rights suspended, and they are now fighting for their right to be together.
The situation started when Brandon and Cynthia Ross brought their infant son to the hospital. “My wife noticed that his leg was swollen and so we were just curious because its not normal for babies to have a swollen leg,” said Brandon Ross.
X-rays revealed multiple fractures in various stages of healing throughout Ryder’s body. Doctors told the couple they were being investigated for child abuse.
“We met with our DHHS caseworker, and she said that the department was seeking custody of our children and that we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital with them,” said Cynthia Ross.
Two months later, there were still no answers.
“They’d done some blood work that showed some weird vitamin D and calcium levels in the hospital, and we were hopeful that somebody would be able to figure out what caused it,” said Cynthia Ross.
Then on June 12, a grand jury indicted Brandon on 12 counts of abuse and was arrested by Bath police. His faces was plastered in the newspapers and on television. “I was just floored I was like we still have all of this medical stuff going on I mean I know there is no way,” said Brandon Ross.
“We’re just normal people who were concerned about our children,” said Cynthia Ross.
Cynthia began researching, eventually getting an appointment with a doctor at Boston Medical Center. “He touched Ryder’s skin and checked his flexibility in a couple of joints, and he was like, ‘This is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome,'” said Cynthia Ross.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a systemic, genetic connective tissue disorder. “Somewhere around one in five-thousand individuals probably have this disorder and its significantly under diagnosed,” said Dr. Jeff Milunsky, with the Center for Human Genetics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Milunsky studies and evaluates EDS. He did not evaluate Ryder, but sees similar patients from around the world. “A patient can present from newborn with fractures bruising dislocations hip dislocation,” said Milunsky.
The Ross family was given a new report. One doctor wrote, “It is in my opinion extremely likely that during the birthing process, and, or, with normal handling that Ryder could have fractured his rib cage. The same is true for other fractures.”
Another doctor called the fractures “characteristic of those that can occur in fragile bones and not inflicted injury.”
However, the case against Brandon Ross was not dropped. The preliminary hospital reported dated in April described Ryder’s fractures as “most consistent with non-accidental inflicted trauma, ie. child abuse.”
Experts said this wouldn’t be the first time doctors missed the signs of the genetic disorder. “Families are unjustly accused of child abuse who have multiple fractures in their children that are medically explained,” said Wilson.
Wilson travels the country defending and helping hundreds of families fighting for their innocence and their children. His research has also uncovered unsettling correlations.
“There’s about 10 to 15 percent of the EDS population that’s been adopted. Most of them tell me I was adopted because I was supposedly abused. Now, when I sit back and look at it I think was that parent really abusing that child? I don’t think so,” said Wilson.
The family has a Facebook Page: Reunite the Ross Family
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