A social worker who called police after apparently making up a story about a possible danger to a newborn, and the hospital that then gave a shot to the infant based on the social worker’s story, now want a federal court to ignore their actions.
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which brought a case against the Hershey Medical Center and social worker Angelica Lopez-Heagy on behalf of Scott and Jodi Ferris, the defendants have asked the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to dismiss the claim.
HSLDA confirms it is working on a rebuttal to the request for dismissal.
“HSLDA is in the process of responding to these motions, ensuring that the Ferris family receives the justice they deserve,” the organization told WND today.
The hospital and social worker’s agency in Pennsylvania declined to respond to WND requests for comment, and the court said the case details were not available online. Dauphin County, where the incident took place, also declined to respond to a WND request for comment.
HSLDA said the defendants want the court to dismiss the case and ignore the fact that the social worker and hospital worked together to administer vaccinations to a newborn over the objections of the parents.
That’s not all.
According to the court filing and a report from Michael P. Farris, chairman of the HSLDA, the case developed this way:
The couple had been planning a home birth with a midwife, but the labor started earlier than expected, so the midwife encouraged them to go to the local hospital. Baby “Annie” was born in the ambulance in the parking lot.
While the hospital took charge of the newborn, Jodi began asking the nurses about her baby, and then the hospital staff gave her an injection without telling her what it was.
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.”
Then, after several hours, another staffer told Scott and Jodi that Annie would have to stay in the hospital for 48 to 72 hours for observation, explaining the law requires that. (There is no such law in Pennsylvania.)
Shortly later, 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, and the social worker refused to answer.
When Jodi questioned that, the social worker said, “Since you’re not going to cooperate, I’ll just go and call the police and we can take custody of the baby.”
Jodi agreed to cooperate, but then the hospital asked to check Annie’s white blood cell count and to perform a strep test. Jodi agreed to the testing. Then the hospital demanded that they give Annie a shot for Hepatitis B. Jodi said that she would agree only if they tested her or Annie to see if either of them were positive. If so, then she was quite willing to have the shot for Annie. The hospital claimed that they had forgotten about this earlier when it was still possible to test that day, and that they needed to give the shot anyway without any testing.
Farris wrote: “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 asked that the decision wait until her husband returned, and the social worker then produced a “safety plan” and demanded a signature.
When Jodi said she wanted her husband and an attorney to review the plan, 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,” HSLDA said.
While the hospital administered the unauthorized Hepatitis B shot for the newborn, 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,’” HSLDA reported.
Her husband was at the entrance, and both were escorted off the grounds – without their child. HSLDA reported the hospital allowed Jodi to return every few hours overnight to nurse the baby, so she was forced to spend the night in a 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,” HSLDA said.
When the issue went before a judge the next morning, the judge returned the child to the parents.
“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,” HSLDA’s report said.
“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.”
The HSLDA said it took on the case because of the significant parental-rights issues involved.
“We are tired of seeing the erosion of parental rights in virtually every area of life,” Farris said. “Parental rights in medical cases have an impact on broader parental rights, including education 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.”