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Health Impact News Editor Comments

When we bring the stories of parents who have had their children taken away from them by a government-funded social agency like CPS (Child Protection Services) because they disagreed with a doctor or a prescribed medical procedure, and publish those family’s stories on, we always get lots of comments and questions from readers such as:

  • How do we know this is a real story, since my local media is not reporting it?
  • What are the sources for your story?

Our source is always the parents and families themselves, who want the public to know what is happening to them. We often break these stories, and local media then follows, if they are able to also interview the parents. In some cases, judges issue gag orders, which many legal experts consider unconstitutional. This then intimidates the parents from speaking out, because they are still trying to get their children back.

One of the stories we broke recently was the story of Tonya Brown, and her adopted son who has leukemia. She lost custody due to a disagreement regarding cancer treatment. She was interviewed by Fields Moselely of Phoneix 3TV just prior to her last court appearance. You can watch the interview below.

Fields also interviewed Charles Flanagan, who oversees the new department created earlier this year (2014) by Governor Jan Brewer to replace CPS in Arizona. He basically admits that a parent only has a “right to choose” when that choice does not conflict with a medical authority.

Yet, as we have reported frequently on Health Impact News, the medical system is the biggest defrauder of the U.S. Government, and the largest criminal cases in U.S. history have been settlements over criminal charges against pharmaceutical companies. The medical system also causes more deaths per year than any single disease through hospital errors and side effects of prescription drugs. Should they have unquestioned authority to overrule a parent on medical decisions?

Ariz. mother claims state took son after disagreement over cancer treatment

by Fields Moseley

Excerpts from the above video:

PHOENIX — A Florida infant was taken away from his mother for five months because he was underweight and she only wanted to feed him soy formula. A Connecticut girl was taken from her parents for one year after a disputed diagnosis.

Some parents and their advocates say the same thing is happening here in Arizona. They claim aggressive doctors and caseworkers are pushing parents out of the picture after the parents disagree with a diagnosis.

3TV started asking questions about a completely different case in October after it was widely publicized on social media websites. But the judge issued a gag order and no one from the state, even legislators, will discuss it publicly.

The confidentiality is designed to protect children and families, but it also hides these cases from public scrutiny.

Parents describe a system where they have to prove they are innocent.

One last prayer in a circle of supporters and Tonya walked into the juvenile court building to try to get custody of her son. The night before, Tonya flipped through a photo album showing herself and a beaming little boy. 3TV is not revealing his identity because he is in Arizona custody. She told us the story of adopting him from Guatemala.

“He just has a really miraculous story,” she said. “He was 4 pounds when he was born and dropped to 3 pounds and there is no NICU and he was an orphan.”

She uses the word “miracle” in the literal sense. A self-described Christian, Tonya believes God guided her to this boy, cured him of a brain injury and most recently, kept him alive during cancer treatments.

“And I’m just open about my faith,” she said. “I don’t know how not to be.”

Tonya said her son was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in September 2011 and the doctor said the cure was a bone marrow transplant.

“I just didn’t want him to have a bone marrow transplant because it is very invasive,” she said. “It’s very invasive, oftentimes fatal. I’ll say ‘invasive, oftentimes fatal.’ They will say ‘life-saving cure.'”

Tonya admits the doctor said this was a life or death situation but she didn’t go back. The hospital called Child Protective Services, but she never connected with the caseworker. She prayed, put her son on a strict organic diet and they went about life for 18 months.

In May 2013, a new caseworker followed up and her son’s leukemia symptoms had returned. She took him to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and agreed to restart chemotherapy.

“I was scared,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘I’ll do anything, just don’t take him.'”

But she continued to question the bone marrow transplant and by the end of June, her son was in state custody.

She had seven different caseworkers. When asked if that is normal practice, Charles Flanagan, the director of the newly created Department of Child Safety, immediately said no.

Flanagan cannot address specific cases but said they have reviewed recent claims that hospitals are pushing DCS to remove certain children.

“Yes, I do believe that parents have the right to refuse treatment when it is not going to harm the child,” Flanagan said.

Attorney Lynda Vescio is not representing Tonya but handles cases in juvenile court where parents fight to get their children back.

“The problem is because we don’t have the access to people who will second guess PCH, we don’t have the ability to come in and challenge the ‘findings of abuse,'” Vescio said.

Vescio believes too many cases end up in court, wasting time and money. And the parents are in a system where they have to prove their innocence.

“I’ve had multiple cases where the person who the department tasks with overseeing this family and making recommendations says this case should be dismissed, this family is safe and their supervisor who’s never even met the family overrides them,” she said.

Read the full story here and let Fields Moseley know you appreciate him and his news team covering these stories.

See Also:

Phoenix Children’s Hospital Seizes 8 Year Old Boy Because Mother Seeks Second Opinion