Target: California Child Protective Services
Goal: Ensure that parents seeking a second medical opinion for their children do not lose custody of their children
Recently, a couple in Sacramento, California had their son taken from them by Child Protective Services after they took him from a hospital without a formal medical discharge. However, Anna and Alex Nikolayev took their infant son Sammy from the hospital to take him to another hospital for a second opinion. They were not denying their son medical care, but rather ensuring they had all information they needed before allowing their infant child to undergo heart surgery. Despite this, Child Protective Services took Sammy into custody. Although the child has now been returned to his parents, the family is still under scrutiny, and this situation could happen again.
The Nikolayevs took their son to Sutter Memorial Hospital when he started to exhibit symptoms of a flu. Sammy’s mother reports seeing a nurse at the hospital give her son antibiotics, which was against the doctor’s orders. The Nikolayevs were then told that Sammy needed open heart surgery, and could not leave the hospital. The family took Sammy from the hospital and immediately rushed him to rival hospital Kaiser Parmanente Medical Center. Sammy was diagnosed with a heart murmur, but allowed to return home with his parents. However, Child Protective Services took Sammy into custody the next day, because his parents had taken him from Sutter Memorial Hospital without a formal discharge.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Paul Seave has since ruled that the infant may be returned to his family, but Child Protective Services will keep watching the Nikolayevs. Sammy will not be allowed to leave his current hospital without a formal discharge. The Nikolayevs were not denying their son medical care, but simply seeking a second opinion, which is a right for all patients. This should have been clear to Child Protective Services by the fact that the family took Sammy immediately to another hospital. Instead, the family was ripped apart, and though reunited, under heavy scrutiny. No family should have to go through the pain the Nikolayevs felt. Ensure that Child Protective Services does not prevent parents from seeking a second medical opinion for their children.
Dear California Child Protective Services,
Recently, a family had their infant son taken from them when they removed him from a hospital to get a second medical opinion. The Nikolayev family temporarily lost their son as they did not trust the hospital’s opinion that the boy needed open heart surgery. They removed him from the hospital without a formal discharge, but immediately took him to another hospital. However, the facts were ignored when Sammy Nikolayev was taken into protective custody.
I ask you to ensure that parents do not have to worry about losing their children when seeking a second medical opinion. Although Sammy has been reunited with his family, his parents are still under intense scrutiny. Their intentions were solely to provide the best care for their son, and they are being punished for it. This worry must end for them, and other families seeking the best care for their children should not have to face the same worry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: MorgueFile