Gina Miller
Outrage: hospital 'kidnaps,' injects newborn, expels mom
By Gina Miller
August 2, 2012

There is certainly no shortage of examples of so-called "authorities" in our nation grossly overstepping their bounds and trampling the rights of ordinary citizens who are often powerless to stop them. We see stories of this almost daily. Just recently we have seen a Christian in Phoenix sentenced to jail for holding Bible studies in his own home, and in Oregon, a man was sentenced to jail for collecting rainwater on his private property.

Now, we have another nightmarish incident in which the power Nazis will hopefully be held accountable, thanks to a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit advocacy Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

The story dates back to June of 2010 when a Pennsylvania woman, Jodi Ferris, went into labor earlier than expected. She and her husband Scott had planned on her having their baby at home with a midwife, but due to the early labor, the midwife recommended she take an ambulance to the hospital. Jodi delivered her baby girl, "Annie," in the back of the ambulance in the Hershey Medical Center parking lot.

Hospital staff admitted Jodi and her baby for observation, and as reported by HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris,

As any mother would do, Jodi immediately began to ask the nurses and attendants how her baby was doing. The hospital staff was utterly unresponsive. When they started to give Jodi an injection, she asked what it was and what it was for. They gave her vague answers like, "It's just to help." Only after giving her the injection of oxytocin did they tell her what it was and then asked, "You aren't allergic to that are you?"

Jodi persisted in asking about Annie. No one would tell her anything other than "she's in good hands and you'll be able to see her soon."

Eventually a doctor told her that Annie scored a 9 on a physical exam applied to newborns known as the APGAR test. A score of 8 or higher is considered healthy. (It is unclear when the score was given since she was in the ambulance at birth.) But shortly after this a different doctor told Jodi that Annie was "very sick" and would need to stay in the hospital. This doctor's comments were accompanied by an explanation of his disdain for midwives saying, "Too many people think they know what they're doing."

About an hour later, another hospital staffer finally brought Annie to Jodi and said, "The baby is doing good. She will be able to go home in no time."

Well, that did not happen. Later another staff member told Scott and Jodi that Annie would need to be kept for 48 to 72 hours for observation, and when asked why, the staffer told them the law requires that the baby be kept, although such a law does not exist in Pennsylvania. Apparently the hospital's "risk management" department was not worried about Annie, who was perfectly healthy, but rather worried about the hospital being sued if something went wrong with the baby after being discharged.

The story kept getting worse, as Mr. Farris reported,

Late in the afternoon, a government social worker named Angelica Lopez-Heagy came into Jodi's room announcing that she was there to conduct an investigation. Jodi asked to know the allegations. The social worker claimed that it would be against the law for her to show Jodi the allegations.

Jodi replied that she would not be comfortable answering the questions if she couldn't know the allegations. Immediately the social worker proclaimed, "Since you're not going to cooperate, I'll just go and call the police and we can take custody of the baby."

Fearing that the social worker would carry out her threat, Jodi replied that she was willing to cooperate.

The social worker soon intimated that the issue was Jodi's refusal to consent to medical treatment for the baby. Jodi replied that she had no idea why anyone would say that. The social worker claimed that she had refused to allow a Vitamin K shot for Annie. Jodi replied that no one had asked her about such a shot. Moreover, she had overheard hospital staffers saying that they had already given Annie such a shot.

Neither the social worker nor any hospital staffer ever gave Jodi or Scott any example of any medically necessary treatment that they had refused for Annie.

At this point, Scott left the hospital to tend to their older children who were staying with friends.

Here we have another social worker Nazi. Child "protective" services workers are notorious for abusing their authority. Just do an Internet search of "child protective services abuse of power" and you'll get an eyeful of the shameful behavior of too many of these people.

The hospital staff asked to run some tests on Annie, and Jodi agreed, but then they wanted to give Annie a Hepatitis B shot, and Jodi wanted to have her or the baby tested for Hepatitis B before letting them give Annie the shot, but the hospital staff claimed that they forgot to do the test earlier, and at that time it was too late in the day to do the test.

Then, as Mr. Farris wrote,

When the social worker pressed her to make an immediate decision about this shot, Jodi asked her if they could simply wait until Scott got back before they decided.

Put yourself in Jodi's shoes at this moment. You gave birth that morning in an ambulance. The hospital has made wild and conflicting claims about your baby's health all day long. You are exhausted. You are in pain. Your husband has gone to check on your children. And a social worker who has threatened to take your baby into police custody is standing in your hospital room demanding that you make an immediate decision.

Jodi simply said, "Please can't this wait until my husband gets back[?]"

The social worker renewed her threat. If Jodi would not answer her question right then, she would call the police. And then the social worker started adding conditions. She and Scott would have to agree to sign a safety plan before she could conclude her investigation.

Jodi said that she wanted her husband and an attorney to look at the plan. She felt she was in no position to read such a document and really understand what she was being pressured to sign.

And then the story turns ugly.

The social worker left the room and called the police. Without a court order they took custody of Annie, immediately claiming that she was suffering from illness or injury — a patently false claim.

The social worker consented to the administration of the Hepatitis B shot even though no blood test had been done.

The police made Jodi Ferris get up out of her hospital bed and escorted her to the entrance — they were expelling her from the hospital because she had not signed the "safety plan."

Scott met her at the entrance to the hospital. The police escorted them both off of the grounds of the hospital.

Jodi was told that she would be allowed to return every three hours to nurse the baby through the night.

Jodi and Scott were forced to spend the night that she had given birth in their car in a nearby parking lot. You read that right. They kicked this mother out of the hospital, and in order to be close enough to feed her child, she had to sleep in the car.

To add insult to injury, Jodi was given access to Annie only sporadically and not every three hours.

This is an astonishingly horrible story! I just cannot imagine having to deal with a Gestapo-like social worker and such bizarre treatment by a hospital staff!

It was the next day that a judicial officer held a hearing, and after learning all the facts, immediately returned baby Annie to her parents — but not before the hospital staff gave her at least one injection without the consent of her parents.

Although this is not a home schooling case, the HSLDA has stepped up to hold this hospital, the social worker and the police accountable for their reprehensible treatment of the Ferrises and their baby. In March of this year the HSLDA filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the actions of Hershey Medical Center, the social services woman and the police officers violated the Fourth and 14th Amendment rights of Scott and Jodi Ferris.

As the HSLDA's Mr. Farris stated,

No parents should be put through this kind of ordeal. It is not a crime to ask questions about the well-being of your child. It is not a crime to ask for testing to ensure that a procedure is needed before it is done. It is not a crime to be a protective mom.

It is a moral offense of the highest order to kick a mother out of a hospital and to seize her child on the day of her birth simply because a mom wanted to have her husband read a legal document before she signed.

Both the medical personnel and the social worker engaged in outrageous behavior toward this family.

And we believe that they violated their rights under the Constitution of the United States. And we are going to court to prove it.

... We are taking this case because we are tired of seeing the erosion of parental rights in virtually every area of life. Parental rights in medical cases have an impact on broader parental rights, including educational decisions.

And the plain fact is this: If we don't fight for parental rights, it is probable that our rights will be eroded bit by bit until there is nothing that remains.

... When government workers run over parents in cases like this, the lesson that needs to be taught is to the government.

... All of our families are at risk when the government is allowed to run over one of us. When we stand together, we can fight back for freedom and for truth.

Thanks for giving as the Lord leads you. And pray for us. This is not an easy case. We really need your ongoing prayers.

You can read Mr. Farris' entire report at the HSLDA website, where you can also donate to help fund their valuable work for the Ferrises and other victims of an out-of-control government bureaucracy.

© Gina Miller


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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