Today Show: California Parents Fight For Custody of Son Sammy
It would strike no one as strange that the parents of a newly born child with a heart murmur might seek a second opinion on the condition–but what may come as a surprise is that this could cause you to lose custody of the child if procedure isn’t followed to the letter.
California parents Alex and Anna Nikolayev took their newborn son, Sammy, from Sutter Memorial Hospital to seek a second opinion on his heart murmur–without formally discharging him, and against medical advice. After receiving a clean bill of health from nearby Kaiser Hospital, the Nikolayevs took their son home, only to find Child Protective Services and police knocking on their door the next day.
“They just took took my baby…out of my hands and walked away,” said Anna. Having no idea what just happened, the Nikolayevs of course took the matter to court.
Today Show: Alex and Anna Nikolayev
Alex and Anna’s attorneys seem to have a pretty strong case, with Robert Powell citing Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations and Joseph Weinberger saying that hospitals and doctors don’t have the right to make decisions about a child’s healthcare.
Apparently, the courts are with those guys. After ordering the child be taken to Lucile Packard Hospital in Stanford for evaluation, the Alex and Anna were once again granted control of five-month-old Sammy’s medical treatment, the single caveat being that they must follow all medical advice moving forward and not remove their son from the hospital without proper discharge.
Today Show: Court Battle For Baby Sammy
Despite the ruling, Sacramento County Child Protective Services still stands by their totally over-reactive treatment of the situation. Since Alex and Anna apparently put Sammy in “imminent risk of serious physical harm,” the law was on their side when they took Sammy from his shocked and utterly horrified parents without explanation.
Sutter Memorial hospital released a very Public Relation-y statement on the matter, saying that their nurses are “bound by duty” to notify authorities if they believe a patient is in danger.