From the #ReuniteandFight4Cesar Facebook page today:
Dr. Holick has confirmed Cesar has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and he had the infantile rickets In which caused bone fragility.
As Health Impact News has previously reported,
On June 29, she says she traveled to Boston to meet with world-renowned Dr. Michael Holick, Ph.D. M.D., who counts among his accomplishments pioneering ground-breaking research on vitamin D. After obtaining Cesar and Jessica’s family history and examining Jessica, he reportedly diagnosed her with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome III, which is a hypermobile type of EDS. Because she has the disorder, the likelihood of a similar medical condition in her son is increased. [See here.]
Earlier in September, a judge approved for Jessica Battiato to take her son Cesar to Dr. Holick for a visit on September 21, where he has now confirmed the diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos.
She is hopeful that this finding will help her get her son back home quickly.
She still has to face a court battle, where CPS may try to discount the testimony of Dr. Holick and other experts. Their case is based on the testimony of child abuse specialist Dr. Kathryn Crowell, who has previously “misrepresented” medical evidence in the past, resulting in an innocent father being sent to prison before he was exonerated by the facts.
By Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Pennsylvania mother Jessica Battiato is frustrated with a doctor and a system that refuses to look for the medical cause of her baby’s condition, instead placing the blame on the parents. Since her son Cesar, now 5 months old, was taken by child protective services 2 months ago, her son has been diagnosed with rickets and hypotonia by a radiology expert. However, CPS seized custody of Cesar in April, based on accusations by Penn State child abuse specialist, Dr. Kathryn Crowell, that Cesar’s injuries could only be caused by abuse.
Dr. Crowell has been accused of falsely testifying against parents before. In a 2009 case she accused a parent of child abuse which led to a father spending over a year in jail. A jury later found him not guilty.
Jessica wants answers for her baby, and she wants her baby back home, not in a foster home.
“My son needs medical attention. He doesn’t need to be neglected by the state. They are delaying him in his care.”
Jessica says that she has always loved children, and has a heart for children. She has worked with kids in Scouts and in Boys & Girls Clubs. She was excited about being pregnant, and tried to eat right for her baby. Because she leans toward natural and holistic approaches, she planned to have a natural childbirth and to breastfeed.
Things didn’t go as she planned. She learned that she had a blood disorder, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (IDP), which involves low platelets. The IVIG treatment that her doctors recommended didn’t work for her, and she had to receive platelet transfusions. She also developed preeclampsia. Her “handsome baby boy Cesar” was born on January 6, 2015, via cesarean section under general anesthesia.
He had difficulty latching on to breastfeed, but Jessica was determined. Cesar finally got the hang of things; after that he was exclusively breastfed.
He also had a bump on his head that concerned his parents, Jessica and Cosme. Doctors said it was normal, but it didn’t go away until after their concerns led them to check him with a neurologist. Tests were ordered and it was ruled as fine.
Problems Began with a Swollen Leg After Vaccines
On March 4th, Cesar received 7 vaccines in one doctor visit: DTap (3 combo shot), Hib, Prevnar, IPV, Rotavirus. A few weeks after Cesar’s vaccines, Jessica was shopping with Cesar, trying out different baby carriers. When her normally happy, calm, “coo-ey” baby suddenly became fussy, she noticed that his leg was swollen. When milk and a diaper change didn’t calm him, she headed home. She reports that his leg looked red and tight when she buckled him into his car seat, but he stopped crying and went to sleep.
As he slept, she searched online to try to figure out what could be wrong. She gave him Tylenol and elevated his leg, but later he woke up crying again. That was the point at which she knew they needed to get it checked out, so they called the pediatrician and took him to St. Joseph Hospital in Reading, Pennsylvania.
He was admitted to the Pediatric ward on April 19. Doctors at first believed that it was an infection in his leg, but testing showed that was not the case. They could not see any breaks in his x-ray or ultrasound, but they said they didn’t know what was wrong, telling the parents:
“If we can’t find out what is wrong with him, we will send him to Hershey Children’s Hospital.”
Jessica and Cosme readily agreed, because Hershey was supposed to be the best. They asked to have Cesar transferred. Jessica was scared for her baby, as he was transported by ambulance to Hershey.
“I admit I was terrified what was to come. I didn’t know if it was a mystery diagnosis, or if I would finally get some answers as to why my son’s leg was swollen.”
Vitamin D Levels Low – Parents Accused of Abuse
At Hershey Children’s Hospital, x-rays were taken and some tests were ordered. Cesar’s bloodwork showed that his Vitamin D levels were low, and his calcium was high. Other levels were off as well. But the most alarming part happened when Dr. Kathryn Crowell, Hersheys Child Abuse specialist, came in. She told them that Cesar had 18 fractures in several parts of his body, and they were allegedly between 3 to 8 weeks old. This was about 6 weeks after his 2-month-old vaccines were administered on March 4th.
“My heart sunk to my stomach. My world felt like it came crashing down. I felt I lost my heart and soul.”
The distraught mom started questioning what could cause this kind of thing, and asked for more testing to be done for possible bone diseases. Jessica says that Dr. Crowell told her that testing had been done, and that the only thing that could have caused Cesar’s injuries is abuse. However, medical reports that Jessica accessed later show that a number of relevant tests were allegedly not performed at all.
Baby Seized by CPS and Placed in Foster Care
Hospital staff called in Berks County Children and Youth (child protective services), and Cesar was taken from his parents’ custody on April 21, 2015, and placed in a foster home, where he remains today. No charges have been filed against the couple.
Though the family has requested kinship placement, that request has been denied. There are family members who have been approved by the kinship department. Despite federal law mandating that children taken by CPS go to family first, and foster care as a last resort, the family has allegedly yet to be told a valid reason for Cesar’s placement with strangers instead of family.
Other Symptoms Indicate True Medical Condition
Since Cesar was taken from his family, he has been given formula and supplemented with Vitamin D. Yet his Vitamin D levels went down instead of up after supplementation began. Puzzled, Jessica asked why. Dr. Crowell simply answered that “blood work fluctuates.” This does not make sense to Ms. Battiato.
Cesar has been diagnosed with tibia vera, or bowing of the legs, at Hersheys. Though the doctors at Hershey Medical Center deny any connection to a bone disorder, another doctor would later describe the bowing of the legs as a symptom of rickets. Dr. Crowell has insisted to Cesar’s family that, “No, it is not rickets.”
Jessica remembers one resident at the hospital saying that he felt “clicking in his ankles,” which is consistent with clicking and popping in his joints that she and subsequent caregivers have noted. These concerns were “brushed off” by doctors at Hersheys.
Parents Still Want Answers, Turn to Experts
Jessica began looking into the family history and her own medical symptoms. When she got her Vitamin D levels tested, she was found to have “Vitamin D insufficiency.” During pregnancy, she took antacids – something which some experts say can wreak havoc with Vitamin D levels and cause severely weakened bones in the baby in the womb. (Source) She regrets not having her levels checked during pregnancy.
Jessica’s mother has a history of osteoporosis, scoliosis, and Vitamin D deficiency. Her brothers and some cousins show symptoms of joint hypermobility, which is a feature of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This is a connective tissue disorder that can present with multiple fractures in infants, such as those seen in Cesar Battiato. However, Dr. Crowell told Jessica that Ehlers-Danlos cannot cause fractures, a statement which contradicts the experts on the syndrome.
He still struggles with tummy time, even now at 5 months, and has difficulty with head control. He gets tired and weak easily.
Recently, Jessica went to a geneticist to see if symptoms that she has had could mean that she has an underlying connective tissue disorder or other condition that her son could have inherited. Dr. Roger Latta found that she, indeed, does have joint hypermobility, a collagen disorder, and features of the genetic Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Because he is not an expert on Ehlers-Danlos, he stopped short of that diagnosis. Jessica is scheduled to go to Boston next week for further testing with an expert on the condition.
Radiology Expert Dr. Ayoub – Diagnosis Rickets
Meanwhile, the family consulted with radiology expert Dr. David Ayoub. Dr. Ayoub in a national expert in infantile rickets. He has reviewed Cesar’s labwork, medical records, x-rays, family history, and CPS records. In his report, he concludes:
“Given the radiological evidence of rickets and subclinical fractures, I believe it is virtually irrefutable that Cesar suffered from skeletal rickets and unrecognized bone fragility and thus received an inappropriate diagnosis of a victim of abuse.”
Dr. Ayoub states that he is highly certain of his conclusion and is “willing to testify to such in court.” He notes that much of the standard medical training that doctors receive about rickets is based on flawed research and modern textbooks that leave out the majority of the information about rickets that textbooks from 50 years ago included. (Source) In his report, he states that the “default diagnosis” when an infant has broken bones is child abuse, despite the fact that there is no other evidence of abuse, or witnesses or confessions of abuse.
That statement is, unfortunately for innocent parents, consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines for evaluating fractures in children. The default diagnosis is child abuse, according to AAP standards. Despite this, doctors are cautioned that:
“Pre-existing medical conditions and bone disease may make a child’s bones more vulnerable to fracture. It is important for pediatricians to take a complete medical history, family history and social history to determine how an injury occurred.”
Learn more about Dr. Ayoub and watch his videos here.
Child Abuse Specialist Refuses to Look at Evidence?
Once Dr. Crowell made her declaration that Cesar’s injuries were the result of child abuse, Jessica says the doctors stopped looking for any other explanation. When Jessica brought other possibilities to Dr. Kathryn Crowell,
“she did not want to budge. She believed it was still child abuse.”
The family was stunned at the doctor’s insistence that there is no other explanation. Jessica says that at one point, she asked Dr. Crowell where she got her education, telling her that she obviously was not educating herself about some of the newer things like rickets or Ehlers-Danlos.
“I’m in disbelief with this doctor. The EVIDENCE is there, but she doesn’t want to see it. She just doesn’t want to say, ‘I was wrong.'”
There is increasing evidence, and concerns in the medical community, that innocent parents have been punished by the “default diagnosis” of child abuse based on bone fractures. See:
Dr. Crowell’s Testimony Previously Sent An Innocent Father To Prison
However, Dr. Kathryn Crowell has been determined wrong in the past by the courts. In 2009, it was her testimony that sent a young father, Jamel Billups, to jail for 414 days, before a jury found him not guilty. According to a complaint filed in 2011,
“Defendant Kathryn R. Crowell, M.D. … issued a consult report on October 29, 2009, with reckless indifference to the truth, in which she falsely concluded that L.B.’s congenital rickets and childhood venous stroke were caused by abuse. …
“Dr. Crowell holds herself out as an expert in investigating suspected child abuse who can determine whether an injury was caused by abuse. …
“Dr. Crowell acknowledged under oath at Jamel’s criminal trial that she misrepresented medical evidence critical to L.B.’s case when she testified at Jamel’s preliminary hearing.”
Like Other Parents, Battiatos Determined to Get to the Truth
The Battiatos were also told that extensive testing had been performed on Cesar, when, in fact, they say it has not. Jessica notes that one test, for osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, came back negative. But a number of other tests have yet to be performed.
Many parents are finding themselves in similar situations. Two families who were eventually cleared of child abuse accusations appeared on the Katic Couric show in 2013, but this was only after one father had spent time in jail after being falsely accused. Both families had a child who was eventually diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Other families face similar accusations and the loss of their children because of the default diagnosis of abuse:
Maryland Father Accused of Abuse over Broken Bones – Both Children Removed from Home of Loving Parents
Medical Kidnapping in Maine: Child with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome & Sister Seized – Grandfather Commits Suicide
Her Faith Sustains Her in the Most Difficult Time of Her Life
Despite all the opposition that they are facing, Jessica is determined to keep searching for answers, and for help for her baby. She says that she knew it was “something medical” as soon as she learned about the fractures.
“This is one of the toughest things that I have ever dealt with. But I am trying to be positive.”
Her faith is helping her to make it through, and she humbly acknowledges that God must have a reason for allowing them to go through this. Through her research and social media, she realizes that she and Cosme are not alone in this, and she wants to do all she can to make people aware of what is happening to innocent families like hers, all over the country.
How You Can Help
Supporters can follow their story at their Facebook page #ReuniteandFight4Cesar. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 29, 2015, in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Jessica is praying that the evidence will clear her and lead to her being reunited with her baby.
Supporters are asked to contact the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, and ask that Baby Cesar be returned to his family. He may be reached at 717-787-2500, or contacted here. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.
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