Skip to comments.Boise (Idaho) Mom Loses Parental Rights Battle
Posted on 07/01/2010 6:17:01 PM PDT by Domandred
A Boise mother loses her parental rights battle at the Federal Court Wednesday afternoon. In 2002, Corissa Mueller brought her baby to St. Luke's Hospital with a fever. The doctor wanted to perform a spinal tap to test for Meningitis, and Mueller wanted a second opinion. Within hours, police and child services were called-in and Mueller lost custody of her child.
The test was done anyway and the little Taige only had a cold. Mueller believes the hospital went too far, but the jury didn't agree. It took 16 days for the jury to unanimously decide that the Mueller's constitutional rights were not violated. "This is America I thought we lived in if this is what happens to a parent that goes to the emergency room with their child," says Mueller. Mueller says she couldn't believe how her personal ordeal ended. "Our motivation from the beginning was to set prescience on what parents have (when choosing medical care for their children). Our hearts are still in this and we're disappointed with the ruling," she says.
St. Luke's attorney Walt Sinclair says the verdict "vindicated the hospital, the doctor, and the Boise police officer involved in the case." Jurors did find the doctor "acted on bad faith when filing a report." Dr. Macdonald's attorney says "Basically we didn't have immunity in the case but he did not do anything that resulted in liability. He was exonerated but that was just a little definitional thing," says Richard Hall.
I'm not fully familiar with this story. The incident happened in 2002, the trial ended today.
Doing some research to find other details.
thanks for posting this.
That's the mindset in America now, don't question those in positions of authority. Be a good little serf, bow and scrape to those that know what's best for us.
Think that’s bad reporting. The whole thing lasted for 17 from what I can tell, I don’t think 16 of those were deliberation. I could be wrong though.
From the same people that will do an abortion at the drop of a hat. Sickening.
I have witnessed first hand how fast emergency rooms want to do spinal taps on children. If there is a fever, it becomes an automatic option. My niece was taken to the E.R. by her grandfather who said she was acting lethargic. They put her to sleep to do a spinal tap. She was sick and in pain for days later. What was the cause? Teething. Second opinions are intelligent when an invasive procedure is recommended. To me, this is punishment for questioning a doctor’s opinion. Plain and simple.
This is scary.
I hope they appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court.
It is a power thing.
Dr. tired of getting sh1t on by parents. A concerned parent with a legitimate concern, raises it, probably very emotionally and Dr. goes on a power trip. Dr. calls cops to show little missie mommy who is really the more important person.
I am truly sick of what we are becoming as a nation.
There has to be a whole lot of this story missing. Any Freepers out there familiar with the history on this story?
Items from article
Child had a fever of 100.8.
Only 5% chance the child had meningitis.
Baby's fever dropped while in the hospital waiting for other tests including fluids, x-rays and blood work, before spinal tap, and before police called. Mom started asking about taking child home. That's when the hospital called the police.
Mom was not allowed to call husband who was at home with other children and consult even him about the spinal tap.
Oh nice links thanks. Going to get pizza I’ll digest the court documents with the pizza.
I’m a real mellow get along type, but I’m reaching my limit. I’m tired of this crap.
Could be some malpractice lawsuit fear of failure to diagnose/treat meningitis, too.
I agree 100% with your analysis.
This most likely has to do with all the unnecessary tests that doctors do, for fear of being sued for negligence (by the parents) if they don’t do them, in the very unlikely event the patient has the actual condition they are testing for.
The country’s legal system is beyond repair, just like everything else that has any connection to the government.
Words cannot begin to describe the pain with a spinal tap. I had one when I was a kid
Years ago I had a doctor tell me that he was going to do some procedure on one of my kids whether I liked it or not. I calmly explained to him that I knew where he lived, could hunt him down, and would definitely beat the ass off him if he so much as touched my kid. I then took the kid and left. Had he called the police I would have followed through, hunted him down and beat the ass off him.
I would have been bailed out of jail long before he would have gotten out of the hospital.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Power trips need to be confronted with even greater power trips.
I am frankly surprised that the father hasn’t already kicked this doctors butt.
That’s what I thought, but the parents here didn’t vehemnently deny treatment according to the story, but simply wanted a second opinion which seems totally justified since a spinal tap is quite a painful ordeal and if not necessary, i.e., your child merely has a cold which turned out to be the case, why subject them to the pain? I still say something’s missing here.
1. Any child under 2 months old with a fever has meningitis or sepsis until proven otherwise...their immune systems are not well developed so they must be treated quickly or they can die or be seriously disabled. That’s standard of care and not doing it is negligent.
2.Spinal taps in infants are easier than drawing blood.
3.The only alternative would have been for the child to be admitted and treated for meningitis/sepsis without a clear diagnosis...a 10 day or so course of IV antibiotics.
4.As an ER doc, I wouldn’t have let the mom take the baby out of the hospital, (I’ve done it, and I am legally obligated to do it if I think the child is in danger) but if she still refused the tap, I’d have started antibiotics and gotten the child admitted and let the pediatricians deal with the fallout.
5. This is why I cringe every time I see a teeny-tiny out in public when they are only a few weeks old, a random virus causing them to run fever can set this whole thing in motion.
Start reading at the end of page 3. Discussion with the police and social services.
Police officer saying that they don't want to violate her rights and that she has done nothing criminally wrong.
Social services says basically they'll take the child knowing that the judge will release after tests (spinal tap) are complete.
Police go along with it, KNOWING FULL WELL the mother has done nothing criminally wrong.
That is some scary crap.
Illegal seizure anyone? Clear violation of the 4th in my opinion, yet the jury was unanimous.
I hope she stated that she would not pay for a spinal tap... then again, I guess that would only work in a country with free market competition in healthcare.
1. The baby was nine weeks and there was a flu going through the house
2. Are you seriously saying that a spinal has as little risk as drawing blood? Seriously?
3. The infant’s temperature was dropping after subcue fluid intake. Observation is the course that should have been taken. Admit the baby if need be, OR do as the mother said and get a second opinion. YOU would have done that, as you stated. This ER idiot called CPS.
4. I don’t like to see infants out either.
Reading this case from the links you gave me and it just gets worse and worse.
So what’s the point of consent forms when the hospital can just call the police, have the child yanked for a few days and have all the tests and procedures done that they can think of on the State’s consent instead of the parents.
So did she get her baby back?
Where is link to story???
I thought I posted that in the first followup post, but through editing it looks like I accidentally deleted that part (or didn’t close a tag properly so it’s there, just buried in html code)
She got her baby back a few days later after the little one was release from the hospital.
So the “plan” by the police and CPS worked just as they said. CPS took the baby on a neglect charges long enough for tests, then CPS judge released back to parents dropping the charges.
Best Post of The Day!
Eric and Corissa Mueller have waited six years to get their say in court and allege that their constitutional rights as parents were violated simply because they preferred not to let a doctor stick a needle in their 5-week-old daughter's spine without more information.
If that's not true, then you can skip the rest of this post, because I have to admit the mortal sin of not reading the whole article...I stopped at the 5-week old part because that really is where the baby poop hits the fan.
I don't like 'set in stone' treatments, and I'm pretty comfortable with my clinical judgement, especially with kids, but even I won't break this one. A 5% chance of meningitis is 1 in 20. Meningitis is 'bad disease'...i.e. it kills. I'm not willing to bet my career or a child's life on those kinds of odds.
And yes, spinal taps really are that easy to do in infants, much easier and less painful than trying to find a tiny vein that can support an IV.
Observation is not at all supported in this case, infants are too fragile, and if you wait until they look bad, it may be too late. Admission would be for treatment, and once the antibiotics are started without the tap, you can't tell what you are treating anymore, so you are committed to a full hospital course of treatment. So now a baby who could have been discharged if the workup was negative is stuck in the hospital for 7-10+ days.
Armed with that information, I've been pretty successful with convincing parents about the LP when necessary...most just have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or base it on their own experience. Once they are confident that we really do have the child's best interest at heart and are made aware of the potential dangers, they almost all will let us do what we need to do. I also wouldn't have a problem with a second opinion, but it would have to be quick and at our hospital, I wouldn't discharge or transfer the child for it (again...didn't read the article-itis :^))
30 years ago my son had his tonsils removed, the doctor wanted to stick tubes in his ears, I told him no. I thought the doc was going to have a screaming hissy fit. (’I’m a doctor, I’m a doctor”)
My son was just fine without the tubes. I had just read about doctors doing this routinely and unnecessarily.
Thank you for your sane post. My daughter had meningitis at 8 weeks old and the cautious treatment she received saved her life.
My husband is a doc and I made him stay in the ER with her during the LP. I couldn’t stand it and stayed out taking care of my other child. But when she was admitted I didn’t leave her side for the entire week she remained for antibiotics and observation.
Other than some rotten baby teeth she came through completely unscathed.
100.8 is not even much of a fever...raised 5 and had emergency trips only twice...One was a temp 104. and pre epilepic (had seizure on way to hospital), the other was a high school foot ball injury, concussion...Any one that takes a child to the hospital for a 100.8 temp is nuts..unless there were other things wrong. 100.8 for inpatients when I worked in the hospital didn’t even get aspirin until 101. But you took the temp every 2 hours...
You have named it accurately.
There was a story in Reader's Digest in the late 90s where a mother went to social services (in Sweden, IIRC) just looking for a little assistance but wound up losing her children to the state.
Nanny-state uber alles in dem Welt, esp. you.
Is there federal funding involved?
So this P$icks stole her baby?
I understand what you are saying but would it have mattered to wait for 30 minutes so the mother could call her husband and get another opinion from another doctor?
I’m going to bet probably not.
Texas CPS tried to take away my niece’s newborn son because she suffered from severe nausea with dehydration while pregnant, some stupid doctor accused her of being anorexic and demanded she go to a psych facility, which she refused, then the baby was born and the doctor called CPS who proceeded to take control of her life.. it took them two years before she could be alone with the child and at one point they were told by CPS if the filed charges against CPS she would never see her child again. I would have never believed this story if I didn’t know it to be true, all it took was one doctor who didn’t like a patient not doing what he demanded to almost ruin her and her husband’s life... for almost two years her MIL had to be present when she was with her son... oh, and to be clear, she was not having any post-partum issues and once the baby was born her nausea issues resolved.. if the doctor would have paid attention to what she and my sister tried to tell him he would know in our family this is quite normal as she and our mother all suffered the same thing as my niece...
No, I don’t think 30 minutes would have made that much difference, but (without reading the whole thing) I suspect that time was dragging on way beyond that and that communications had just completely broken down. I would think that the father would have known they were in the ER and it shouldn’t take 30 minutes to get him on the phone, let him talk to the mother and the ER doc, and get a decision made. Sometimes people just can’t get to a point where they can trust each other, and unfortunately in the ER you don’t get to pick your doctor, and we don’t get to pick our patients...so you just have to do the best you can.
You also have to consider that this wasn’t the only patient in the ER, and since a ‘2nd opinion’ wasn’t readily available, this doc may have been alone (our ER still has only single coverage for several hours every day) trying to manage other patients. Spending 30+ minutes negotiating to do a 5 minute (necessary) procedure is not something you always have the luxury to do.
Your post helps make sense of the situation. And as a parent, it great information to have.
But, would you agree that the DR. was wrong to call social services and the police were wrong to allow social services to take custody of the child?
I livid reading the story starting with the dr. wanting to do a spinal tap and having a hissy fit when told NO. Reading your explanation, the DR’s demanded treatment wasn’t unreasonable, but his behavior afterwards was. It seems to me that he seriously failed here, because if he had presented the situation as clearly as you did, then there quite possibly would have been a different outcome.
Y’all are going to make me actually read the article aren’t you....
It really is a "damned if they do, damned if they don't" situation. We can probably find stories where children were misdiagnosed as having colds when they really had meningitis and malpractice suits were filed.
And it also appears that specific Idaho State law had much to do with this verdict.
Yes, I agree. Complete BS, as well.
I'll never forget the animal cry of agony that came out of our little baby's mouth while she received that tap. I had to relieve myself from her room once it was over.
While this procedure was awful, death by meningitis was NOT an option. Turns out she did not have it and no one to this day is sure what she had. Many theories of course.
Thank you and other good Doctors for taking care of our little ones. BTW, she's 15 now and thriving!