The following comment was submitted to Health Impact News in response to our article, The Corrupt Foster Care and Adoption System: Why Aren’t More Foster and Adoptive Parents Speaking Out? "I tell you why adoptive families don’t speak up. They are usually infertile couples who are desperate to get their hot little hands on a child. They often spend years on waiting lists, jumping through the hoops of applications, home studies, background checks, parenting classes and trial periods with foster children to 'find a good fit.' They don’t care whether the child was 'justifiably' taken from its real parents or not. We FINALLY got a child, by God it’s ours, and we won’t let anyone take it away! Open adoptions, birthparent contact and the child’s desire to search are their worst nightmare. Adoption can be as bad or worse than an abusive home - like the most horrific of all, when the child was unjustly taken from loving parents and given to abusive adopters (which is what happened to me)."
It happens every day in America. Loving parents take their children to the emergency room for accidents, injuries, and illness. Sometimes the child appears to be fine, but "to be on the safe side," parents just want to get their child checked out. Other times, the parents don't know what's wrong, but they look to the "experts" to figure out what is going on. They are worried about their child. The last thing on their mind is that someone could come in and take their child away from them, accusing them of child abuse. Yet it is becoming increasingly common for a trip to the doctor or hospital to escalate quickly into this kind of nightmare scenario. A concern for the health of their child becomes a fight for the very survival of the family unit as parents are blindsided by Child Abuse Pediatricians and social workers. Policies designed to help medical staff spot real child abuse can actually set up innocent parents for false allegations of abuse. Parents walking into a medical setting seeking help for their child often have no idea that they may be walking into a trap. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a professional organization of pediatricians. Their policies impact the practices of local pediatricians and doctors in Children's Hospitals. The public usually pays little attention to specific AAP policies. Policies are generally assumed to be based on scientific evidence, but there are times that politics, agendas, or financial incentives play a role in establishment of policies. Parents (consumers) have a right to know about the policies of a business or establishment they choose to interact with, especially when those policies can have a significant impact on the well-being of their family. In the interest of "informed consent," this article will highlight specific AAP policies that are often used by Child Abuse Pediatricians to ensnare innocent parents.
Like many Americans, Mary Sweeney and Cedric Roberts believed that Child Protective Services was made up of "the good guys," the ones who protect children from bad parents who abuse their children. They didn't realize that a trip to the emergency room puts normal, loving parents at risk of losing their children. Mary wanted to make sure that everything was fine after a simple accidental injury, but the trip to the ER resulted in all 4 of their children being taken from them. It could have happened to anyone. The suburban Chicago couple spent the summer without their children, including infant twins, because a Child Abuse Pediatrician in another state has accused them of abusing one of their babies. The doctor never saw the baby in person. A fracture the doctor diagnosed ended up being a glare on her screen. There was no fracture. It was a mistake. Even so, Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) has not returned the children to their parents.
Many Americans hold to a national pride that believes the United States is, or at least was, the greatest country in the world. Few would argue that America is "not what it used to be" when considering the "greatness" of America today. Current American President Donald Trump was swept into power because he ran on a campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again" (MAGA), suggesting that what was once considered "great" in America no longer is. This pride that America is greater than most other countries of the world, that it is the land of opportunity and hope, was perhaps best articulated by the American poet, Emma Lazarus, who penned the following words that today are etched into a plaque attached to the Statute of Liberty standing in the harbor of New York City, which was once considered the gateway to America: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Today, depending on how one measures "greatness," America could still be considered greater than other countries in certain aspects, such as having the world's largest economy, or the world's most powerful military force. But there is one area where America exceeds all other nations' of the world that hopefully most Americans would not be proud to admit: America is the #1 destination for pedophilia and child sex trafficking, and this huge market exists mainly because it is funded by taxpayers through the U.S. government Child Protection Services and Foster care system.
Parents of 20-somethings probably recall the "Mommy Wars." Parenting magazines and mainstream media frequently addressed the cultural battle between mothers who made different parenting choices - stay-at-home moms vs working moms, breastfeeding vs formula feeding, homeschool or public school, or epidural vs natural childbirth. With the advent of social media, the term "Mom-shaming" came into use. Passionate advocates took to Facebook and blogs to promote their perspective on the "right way" to parent. As emotionally brutal as the Mommy Wars or Mom-shaming could be, they pale in comparison to the new reality facing parents today in trying to navigate the often stormy waters of parenting. There is now a whole other dimension added to the mix. Mothers (and fathers) now face the real possibility that someone who disagrees with their choices will call the police and report them to Child Protective Services. Parental refusal to bow to the opinions of those around them can carry drastic consequences. Families can literally lose their children, even permanently, because someone who doesn't like their parenting style decided to invoke the strong arm of governmental authority. The fears of others, even irrational or statistically-unlikely fears, are becoming codified into the social "moral" fabric of modern society. Self-appointed, cultural watchdogs, who would have been called "busybodies" in times past, are no longer content to wag their fingers or type out a nasty post. By involving Child Protective Services, these fear mongers often subject the children to the possibility of far worse conditions than anything they could be "rescuing" them from. New York Times writer Kim Brooks found herself on the defensive end of another person's fear about a parenting decision, and she faced the possibility of arrest and losing her children. She wrote an opinion piece entitled "Motherhood in the Age of Fear," in which she eloquently describes the escalation of the Mommy Wars into a very battle for our children themselves.
Medical kidnapping can happen to adults as well as children. Health Impact News has reported a number of adult kidnapping stories over the years. Some involve senior citizens. Others, like this one reported by ABC News in Raleigh, North Carolina, regarding 24-year-old, Ian Bankert, involves the seizure of adult children with mental illness or disability from their parents who have loved, raised, and cared for their children their entire lives. Doctors (mostly psychiatrists) and courts have the power to step in and take over the entire lives of such individuals, isolating them from their families and ultimately deciding every aspect of their care. Ian's parents became concerned about the doctors "overprescribing him with medication," a concern which is shared by many parents and patients, and watchdog groups. Doctors recommended "more medication and long-term care," but his parents, according to ABC11, "instead insisted that a good diet, exercise and faith could restore Ian's sense of self." Ian's story is another in a long list of cases where the financial and academic interests of one group - psychiatrists and public guardians - are pitted against the civil rights and familial interests of individuals and their families. The long arm of the state again overrides the decisions of parents who know and love their son and want what is best for him. They do not believe that locking him away from his life and loved ones and drugging him are the answer.
American Academy of Pediatrics’ Failing Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnoses: Use Tyranny When Science Fails
The line between medicine and the justice system has been blurred. Certain doctors, especially those certified as Child Abuse Specialists or Child Abuse Pediatricians, have essentially become judge, jury, and executioner in cases involving Shaken Baby Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy allegations. The testimony of one of these doctors can result in a family being ripped apart with the child sent away to foster care or even adopted out by someone else. Parents and grandparents are sentenced to prison, even a lifetime in prison or death row, based on their testimony. Clearly, these doctors have a tremendous amount of power, literally holding the fate of generations within their control. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued a "consensus statement" regarding Abusive Head Trauma (their preferred name for what is more commonly known as Shaken Baby Syndrome). It essentially asserts that there is no question that their way is the right way, that judges and the public need to recognize that they are right, and that anyone who says otherwise is just wrong. Increasingly, attorneys and the public are questioning the assertions made by the doctors who hold themselves up as the ultimate authority over legal matters involving abuse. Cases are being overturned, and innocent parents are being freed. The consensus statement appears to be a response to the plethora of SBS cases being overturned in the courts, a statement to let people know that they are still in charge and that their dogma, to which the authors hold with almost religious fervor, is not to be challenged.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a grandmother was freed from prison this month after Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent became involved. Maria Mendez spent the last 11 years of her life, serving a 25-year sentence for the death of her 9-month-old grandson. She had been convicted of Shaken Baby Syndrome, but attorneys and law students who fight for people who are wrongfully convicted took up her case, pointing out medical evidence that was not considered by the court. Mendez was originally convicted based on the testimony of a Child Abuse Specialist. Dr. Carol Berkowitz is the Director of the Child Abuse Fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. At one time she served as the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is part of the Helfer Society – an elite group of doctors involved with Child Abuse, and in 2014, she won the society's highest award. Despite her many accolades, Dr. Berkowitz failed to consider alternative explanations for the injuries sustained by the grandson of Ms. Mendez. The testimony that she gave reflects the junk science beliefs involved in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Other doctors disagree with her diagnosis, but she was the only doctor to testify 11 years ago.
A common denominator in many of the cases of medical kidnapping that we have covered at Health Impact News is the presence of a Child Abuse Specialist doctor. Time and again we have reported stories where a parent takes a child to a hospital for one reason or another, only to find themselves accused of child abuse by a Child Abuse Pediatrician, even when there are real medical conditions present. Once that accusation is made, doctors almost universally stop looking for any other explanation for a child's symptoms, sometimes jeopardizing the health of the child doctors are supposed to be helping. The child is usually separated from his or her parents and is frequently placed in the care of strangers - a practice that, in itself, is harmful to children. Parents tend to assume that the doctors are concerned about finding out what is wrong with their child. They do not expect that they may encounter a doctor whose role aligns more with prosecutors and police officers than it does with the practice of medicine. Defense attorneys in Virginia have recently discovered what could be termed an "unholy alliance" between prosecutors and a child abuse team at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk. According to the Daily Press, the Virginia attorneys are concerned that: "the agreement — which they learned of only recently — makes CHKD doctors part of the “prosecution team” rather than truly independent experts, which they fear could tip the scales of justice." The contracted agreement has been in place since, at least, 2013 in that location. How many other similar contracts exist around the country? Such an agreement could provide a partial explanation for troubling practices that many families have encountered when taking their children to their local children's hospitals where they are medically kidnapped.
Texas Mom Who is a Nurse Fights to Regain Custody of Daughter Taken Away After Gardasil Vaccine Injury
Social workers told a Texas mother that Monday was her last visit with her daughter. Aniya Blu Vasquez was medically kidnapped from her family after she became ill following a medical error in which her pediatrician injected her with the Gardasil 9 vaccine intended for her older brother. Aniya was just 4 months old at the time. A Texas court decided last month that the parental rights of her mother, Anita Vasquez, should be terminated, devastating the family and supporters alike. However, their story is not over. In a quirk of legalities, Anita Vasquez filed a Declaration of Recision of Signature/Contracts before the court was able to file the entry of judgement on the termination of parental rights. As a result, there will be another hearing on Monday, July 23, 2018, at the Victoria County Courthouse at 9 a.m. She says that there is substantial new evidence in her case that was not considered by the court. Anita asserts that the very basis upon which CPS seized custody of Aniya was fraudulent, and CPS knew it all along. Concerned citizens are rallying around the family that they believe is suffering a grave injustice.