In the middle of the night on May 23rd, 2016, my husband, Tim was caring for our 4-month-old infant son, Tristan, our third of three boys, while I was trying to get some rest.
Tim awoke to find our son completely unresponsive.
He immediately woke me up and told me to go to the emergency room as fast as possible.
I rushed him to the hospital without a moment’s hesitation; no wallet, no phone, no shoes.
I will never forget the pure fear of those moments holding my unresponsive baby in my arms praying to God not to take my baby.
When I got to the hospital, the ER doctor told us Tristan had a small subdural hematoma and at the time we had no idea what that was.
After a day of testing, our prayers were finally answered when Dr. Sandberg, Tristan’s Neurosurgeon, came in with his diagnosis of a tiny subdural hematoma caused by birth injury.
He let us know it would resolve itself in the next couple of days, that he was canceling the scheduled MRI, and that we could go home, as he said there was no reason to intubate and bathe our baby in that much radiation.
This was the moment that our family had been praying for, and for the first time we felt relieved to know that Tristan was going to be ok and we would all be going home soon.
But unbeknownst to us, our nightmare was just beginning.
While we were taking in the comfort in Dr. Sandberg’s diagnosis, the child abuse pediatrician (or CAP) was formulating her own diagnosis for Tristan’s medical emergency… Abusive Head Tramua.
After Sandberg had canceled the MRI, she informed us that she was reinstating the order for the MRI because this MRI was going to prove her accusation Tristan had been shaken.
She used CPS to medically kidnap our baby.
What we did not know then, but we clearly know now, this CAP was giving statements to CPS saying
“Most likely cause of Tristan’s brain bleed & RH’s is inflicted trauma.”
“Tristan should not go home with a caregiver that may have shaken him”.
The following day, Tim’s 36th birthday, we stood in the Fort Bend County Courthouse where the State of Texas took conservatorship of Tristan based on the CAP’s false allegations and CPS’s nonexistent investigation.
After the court hearing, our life at home was turned upside down. Tristan was removed from our home and placed with my parents for two months.
Tristan had been breastfed since birth, but now it was not sustainable during his time away from me.
I lost the most important bonding time with my baby.
Our 8 and 5-year-old sons were no longer the happy-go-lucky kids we knew anymore. They lost part of their childhood.
They had to attend forensic interviews at the sheriff’s office, and they were absolutely terrified. Our middle son began stuttering and our older son suffered extreme anxiety.
My husband was laid off because his work product had suffered, as his time away from the office was becoming a distraction. We had to meet monthly in court for update hearings; we completed Depelchian parenting classes, and went through psychological evaluations, polygraph testing, drug testing, anger management, counseling, monthly home visits with Casa and CPS.
Financially we poured every cent we could gather into defending ourselves. In total, about $200,000 was spent defending a diagnosis that was untrue.
And when we finally got to the point in the case, seven months after it had started, when our family was finally going to be able to defend itself, CPS dropped the CAP as a witness and non-suited the case and walked away like nothing happened.
We had no recourse, or any ability to hold either the doctors or state agents accountable. This whole ordeal was simply over. It took a total of 18 months to expunge our records.
Throughout this whole ordeal Tristan’s CAP did not uphold her duty to the Hippocratic Oath to DO NO HARM.
She spoke with 100% certainty Tristan’s injuries were inflicted and completely disregarded Tristan’s highly acclaimed Neurosurgeon’s opinion.
This medical system that was created to protect children and prevent them from harm has unwittingly become an avenue that is destroying families. Tim and I fully believe in protecting children from abuse, but what we do not believe in is having one CAP having carte blanche authority to overrule highly specialized doctors based on nothing more than their statistical theories and infallible medical opinions.
We would like to see the overreach of these CAP’s stopped and proper checks and balances put in place governing them. We are asking for their sovereign immunity to be removed and for second opinions.
We want families to have due process and not to be treated guilty until proven innocent. Miranda Rights should be read and CAP’s should uphold their duty to DO NO HARM.
The above story was written by Ann Marie Timmerman of
Health Impact News