Sunday, October 31, 2010
I'm seething with anger at a news report from Pennsylvania. It seems a mother had her child taken away from her, three days after birth, because the hospital tested her blood for opiates and it returned a positive result. The hospital didn't bother to investigate further; they simply informed Pennsylvania's Children and Youth Services (CYS), which came to her house and seized the child. (Apparently that State's laws allow both the blood testing and the seizure of so-called 'at-risk' children.)
The problem in this case is that the mother wasn't using opiates at all. She'd eaten a poppy-seed bagel shortly before admission, and the poppy seeds skewed the results of the tests. Nobody bothered to ask her whether any factors like that might be operative, or checked whether there was any other evidence of drug abuse: they simply reacted in knee-jerk fashion to confiscate her child. As she said, "When she was gone, our family was just at a loss of words . . . I couldn't stop crying. Alex just didn't even know how to be himself. It felt like our heart was ripped in pieces. The most important person was missing, and we didn't know when we would see her again."
Fortunately, the bureaucrats came to their senses, and returned the baby to her after five days when they could find no further evidence of drug abuse. The mother and the ACLU have now filed suit against the hospital and CYS. Quite frankly, I hope they take both parties to the cleaners, financially speaking. This is a sickening example of Big Brother getting too big for his boots.
Let's be clear: if there's a genuine threat to the health, safety or welfare of children, I support the State's right to remove them from their parents. However, to do so without any investigation at all, on the basis of a single blood test, with no corroborating evidence whatsoever . . . that's just too sick for words! It's bureaucracy gone mad! If any hospital or social agency tried to do that to me and/or mine, particularly on the basis of 'evidence' which I knew to be false and/or misinterpreted, I'd be damned if I'd surrender my child to misguided busybodies! I'd make darn sure they didn't get their hands on her - and if they tried to push things, so much the worse for them! I can only marvel at the parents' self-control.
I'd like to think that as a result of this egregious breach of sanity, human rights and basic common decency, the relevant law(s) will be either modified or repealed, to prevent such a travesty of justice from happening again. However, I suspect my hopes are in vain . . .