Medical cases

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Medical cases

Postby Marina » Sat May 31, 2008 10:19 am

. ... /805240329

Child-neglect case dropped by state
State: Boy's poor health result of disorder, not mom's care
Kris Wernowsky • [email protected] • May 24, 2008

The State Attorney's Office said Friday that it dropped a felony child-neglect charge against a Pace woman whose 4-year-old son suffers from a rare brain disorder.

Documents released by the state attorney's office reveal that the unhealthy condition of 19-year-old Erin Markes' son, Jaden, was the result of Miller-Deiker Syndrome — a form of the developmental brain disorder lissencephaly — and not criminal child neglect.

Markes was arrested and jailed in March on $100,000 bond. A judge later released her and allowed supervised contact with her son.

Cindy Anderson, with whom Markes lives, said Friday's announcement came as welcome news. Markes was not available for comment.

"The only thing I can say is she's glad," Anderson said.

Assistant State Attorney Anne Patterson filed a four-page memorandum that detailed why, after three months of investigation, the decision was made to drop the charge.

"All the physicians consulted as well as the experts were in agreement that the child's tenuous condition on March 13 was most likely as a result of the effects of his lissencephaly and not as a direct result of negligence on the part of Erin Markes," she wrote.

The dismissal comes days before Markes' arraignment, which was scheduled for Wednesday.

James "Bart" Countess, an attorney with the Tallahassee-based Arrowood Law Firm, took on Markes' case for free in April after reading about her in the news.

"Based on the information I've received in our investigation, the state attorney would have a huge mountain to climb to come even remotely close to convicting her," Countess said. "What (Markes) has been able to do given her background is simply amazing. That Jaden has survived as long as he has is a tribute to her dedication."

Markes, a single mother who had Jaden at 15, moved to Florida from Missouri in July when her mother died.

Dianna Fitzgerald, founder of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based National Lissencephaly Network, said she and medical experts affiliated with her organization for parents and families were called in to help investigators understand the nature of the disorder.

"I hope there is something we can do and the community can do to help this girl get back on her feet," Fitzgerald said. "These charges hurt her reputation."

Children with lissencephaly often have a hard time feeding, and suffer from seizures and motor-retardation. They require almost constant care, Fitzgerald said. Most children with Miller-Deiker live to age of 2. Jaden is fed through a feeding tube and has seizures.

Markes took the child to Sacred Heart Hospital early on March 13 when he began making a grunting noise that raised her concern. He weighed 12.3 pounds, and a doctor said the child appeared malnourished and suffered from bedsores.

A member of the hospital staff contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families about the child's condition.

Jaden remains in a hospice care center for children, said Janice Thomas, regional director of DCF.

"I believe there are some other actions that should have been taken," Thomas said. "No matter what, this child has a limited life expectancy."


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Postby Marina » Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:16 pm

. ... 15840.html

Foster transplant case sparks DCF policy revamp

Among the lessons learned by welfare bosses when a foster child needed a new liver: Kids in care often need a 'champion' to fight for their cause.

Posted on Thu, Jul. 24, 2008

[email protected]

He had an aunt who raised him from infancy whom he calls Mom. He had caseworkers and doctors and a high-ranking administrator from Florida's child welfare agency all working on his behalf.

What he didn't have: a ``champion.''

Days after Jackson Memorial Hospital stepped in to provide a lifesaving liver to a disabled foster child who had been removed from a Central Florida hospital's organ waiting list, Department of Children & Families administrators are developing a new policy for providing needed care to foster kids in medical crisis.

The cornerstone of the protocols is the designation of high-level department advocates, or ''champions'' -- hard-charging closers who can overcome obstacles and ensure children in state custody get the same kind of attention and care as kids who still live with their parents.

''People have to take ownership,'' DCF Assistant Secretary George Sheldon said last week at a meeting of the state Task Force on Child Protection. In the case of the 15-year-old Tampa Bay youth, ``We had success because a couple of people took ownership and made it happen.''

It almost didn't.

The teen, who is not being identified by The Miami Herald to protect his privacy, was diagnosed with mental retardation and has suffered from liver disease since infancy. For much of his life, said his aunt, April Nixon, the boy's liver disease was successfully treated with medication.

Within the last year, however, the boy entered an advanced stage of the illness after his body no longer responded well to the medication, Nixon said.

He was placed on a waiting list for a liver transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, but then removed after doctors and administrators decided he was a poor candidate for a transplant because DCF could not guarantee he would remain in a permanent home during a two-year recovery from the surgery.

The Miami Herald detailed the boy's plight July 8. A few days later the boy was given a new liver at Jackson after the organ unexpectedly became available, Nixon and DCF administrators said.

''The champion needs to be given the authority to bypass any level of authority and go directly at least to an assistant secretary,'' Sheldon said. ''Sometimes it takes a special case for us to come together and bring the necessary resources to bear,'' he added.

The boy already has been moved from Jackson into a medical foster facility in Miami where he is recovering with 24-hour nursing care.

''I talked with him last night and yesterday,'' Nixon said. ''He said he's feeling fine and doing well.'' Nixon said Jackson nurses told her the boy had not experienced any complications and had not run any fever.

Nick Cox, DCF's top Tampa Bay administrator, said he also is being briefed regularly on the boy's progress, and ``from everything I am hearing, he is doing very well.''

Cox, who helped spearhead the department's efforts to care for the teen, said Sheldon and DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth had made it clear that their first priority is the health and safety of vulnerable children, and gave him tremendous leeway to advocate for the boy.

''You have to look at these cases as though this is your own kid -- and what would you do if this were your kid?'' Cox said. ``In cases such as this, given the circumstances these kids find themselves in, you have to try to step in and try to champion the cause.''


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Postby Marina » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:58 pm ... ition.html

'My baby was put in care after I was wrongly accused of abuse': Mother's nightmare after doctor misdiagnosed medical condition

By Chris Brooke
Last updated at 12:18 AM on 20th February 2009

Angry: Dee Crawford has been cleared of hurting son Michael
A young mother was arrested and her ten-day-old baby taken into care after doctors misdiagnosed a bump on his head as a sign of abuse.

Dee Crawford, 19, contacted her health visitor and midwife for advice after her son, Michael, suffered a fall at home.

She was told to take the baby – who was otherwise healthy after being born by caesarean section – to hospital to be examined.

The lump was later found to be a cephalohematoma – a common condition which often results from a problematic labour.

However, the foreign doctor who examined Michael at the University Hospital of North Durham believed it was a ‘new’ injury and called in police and social services to investigate.

The first-time mother then had her baby taken away before being arrested on suspicion of assault. Police later allowed her to read the doctor’s report about her son’s injury, which claimed that cephalohematoma could not occur with c-section births.

More...'Bruised' baby found dead in cot was known to social services

Back home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Miss Crawford researched the condition on the internet and discovered that the doctor had got his facts wrong.

She pressed for an expert’s second opinion – even offering to pay the four-figure fee herself.

Michael was suffering from a swelling condition (the area affected is marked) commonly caused by a traumatic birth
Eventually – after two-and-a-half weeks separated from her baby – a paediatrician at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary concluded that the swelling was ‘without a doubt’ the result of a difficult labour and not suspicious.

Mother and baby were then reunited. Durham Police have now formally dropped the inquiry.

Miss Crawford said midwives had pointed out that Michael – who was born on January 19 weighing 9lbs 8oz – had a bruise on his head shortly after the birth but said it was nothing to worry about.

‘What happened to me I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,’ she added. ‘I have lost so much time with my baby when I should have been bonding with him.

‘The experience of being torn apart so soon after the birth was so traumatic it was as if he had died. I couldn’t eat or sleep until my name was cleared.

Dee was arrested and charged with assault but police have now formally dropped the inquiry
‘I’m furious with social services and the police for putting me through this unnecessarily. If they spent more time on cases like Baby P and less on things like this then more babies would be alive.’

She added that Michael had been on the Child Protection Register because she had suffered from depression, but claimed her mental health has been made worse by her treatment.

A Durham Police spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a 19- year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of assault but no further action has since been taken.’

A spokesman for Durham County Council said: ‘We would never remove a child in the context of a suspected injury without first taking expert medical advice.'

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