The Spectacle Blog

For All Those Folks Who Think…

By on 11.13.06 | 1:56PM

...the government should run health care. The Idaho Statesman recounts a story from a few years back about Corissa Mueller, a mom who brought her baby to the ER because the baby suffered from a fever. Figuring that the baby had contracted the cold going around the family, and worried about the risks of the spinal tap the doctor was recommending, she declined to have the baby tested for meningitis:

Mueller asked doctors to wait to perform the lumbar puncture until initial lab results were returned and Erickson had a chance to confer with the doctors. As intravenous fluid dripped through Taige's veins, her fever began to drop. Noting Taige's improvement and weighing the risks associated with spinal taps, steroids and antibiotics, Mueller continued to decline administration of the drugs and procedure but consented to a urinalysis, blood test, X-ray and I.V.

That decision was made in the best interest of her child, Mueller said.

Mueller did not know that that decision would prompt a hospital nurse to call Child Protective Services.

Under Idaho code 16-1612 of the Child Protective Act, a child may be removed from the care of a parent without a court order "only where the child is endangered in his surroundings and prompt removal is necessary to prevent serious physical or mental injuries." Statute 16-1616 of the same act says a court may authorize the medical treatment of a child when a physician informs the court, either orally or in writing, that "in his professional opinion the life of the child would be greatly endangered without certain treatment and the parent, guardian or other custodian refuses or fails to consent."

As the night wore on, Mueller noticed Taige's condition began to improve. According to the tort claim Mueller filed in district court, an attending physician introduced Mueller to a detective from the Boise Police Department shortly after Mueller asked if she could take Taige home. Mueller said the detective told her she was endangering Taige by postponing antibiotics and the spinal tap.

Taige's temperature rose to 101 degrees. Mueller said that as she went toward a telephone to confer with [her naturopath] about going ahead with the spinal tap, antibiotics and steroids, the detective stepped in front of her and delivered notice that Taige was to be seized and removed to a shelter. As Mueller turned around, she said, she saw her child taken away. Mueller was dragged down the hall by two police officers.

Mueller, outraged and frantic, demanded her nursing infant be returned.

Hmmm....I wonder how many people will now delay bringing their infants in for medical attention due to worries about having their child seized from their custody?

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