Florida Teen Dies After Disabled Mom Loses Custody

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Mother Will Live With Scars Forever

"This is one of the worst cases I have ever seen, and I have handled some bad cases," said Peter J. Brudny, a medical malpractice attorney who is representing Freyre. "These are scars she will carry forever."

"Had [Marie] lived and not seen this horrendous breakdown by every agency, she would have been warehoused ... in Miami for months and maybe the rest of her life," he said.

Brudny said he was looking into a federal lawsuit alleging violation of Freyre's civil rights against the various agencies involved in the care of the teen who died.

Tampa General Hospital issued a prepared statement on the case: "We were surprised and tremendously saddened to learn of this child's death 12 hours after she arrived without incident at the nursing home in Miami. We know how hard her mother worked to care for her, and the circumstances are truly tragic."

The statement said state child welfare authorities had placed the child at the hospital for "shelter" while other arrangements were being made.

"We cannot comment on specific details of her care due to patient privacy issues," it said. "However, Tampa General Hospital vigorously denies that it violated any court orders or that the patient was underfed or dehydrated while at the hospital. Her physicians would not have authorized her discharge if they had any concerns about her medical condition."

It said "all decisions" on placement and medical transport were made by the Florida Department of Children and Families "in consultation" with a private ambulance company.

The Department of Children and Families outsources many of its services as required by the state legislature and didn't have the legal authority to make all the decisions in the case, according to its communications director Joe Follick, who said Marie Freyre's case had been "tragic and sad."

"We want to do everything we can not to incur another tragedy," he said. Follick said there needed to be a "broader education effort," and parents, as well as health care providers, needed to know all options available for children in their custody.

"Everyone should know the goal is to keep children with their families, and that becomes the primary focus no matter how complicated the situation," he said.

Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration said both Tampa General and the Miami nursing home, then the Florida Club Care Center and now renamed Golden Glades Nursing and Rehabilitation Center -- were investigated in September 2011.

"We did find immediate jeopardy at both facilities," said AHCA spokesman Shelisha Coleman. "Findings of immediate jeopardy carry the highest penalty under the federal survey program."

Tampa General was cited for "discharge planning" and was given 23 days to address the violation or risk losing its public funding. AHCA said the hospital addressed those issues. It was also fined $5,000.

Florida Club was cited with 84 pages of violations including neglect, pharmaceutical services and "responsibilities of the medical director."

Alex Camacho, administrator at Golden Glades, twice, did not return ABCNews.com's calls seeking comment.

Parents with disabilities are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce, have more difficulty in accessing reproductive health care and face significant barriers to adopting children, according to the national report.

The report said women with disabilities still face "coercive tactics designed to encourage sterilization or abortion because they are not deemed fit for motherhood."

Powell, the attorney for the National Council on Disability, uses a power wheelchair for a disabling condition called arthrogryposis, which affects her muscles and joints and gives her limited use of her arms but not her legs.

She is 31 and single and said that her doctors ask her "more times than I can count" if she would consider a hysterectomy.

"I had a doctor's appointment this morning and was asked again," she said. "I probably will have children sooner or later, and they were taken aback again. There is no medical reason not to. I am very healthy -- my disability is solely physical."

She would likely need an adaptive crib and changing table, and either a nanny or personal assistant, otherwise, Powell said, "I have no doubt I would be a great mother. We know parents are so much more than being able to change a diaper."

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