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Parents Accuse Stanford Teaching Hospital of ‘Medical Kidnapping’
Dr. Richard Fox, our esteemed board member at Free Now Foundation, recently helped a Northern California family navigate a challenging situation involving Child Protective Services and alleged medical kidnapping. Have you experienced a similar situation or know of anyone who has? Share in the comments below. We need to shed light on this!
by Kristin Lang,
May 30, 2024
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This article was published in The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times


Written by Kristin Lang

It’s every parent’s nightmare. Your child isn’t feeling well. You take them to the emergency room, and the recommended treatment has dangerous side effects that you believe will permanently harm your child. You refuse treatment and take your child elsewhere, as is your right.

But while an adult can voluntarily check out of a hospital at any time “against medical advice,” also called AMA, sometimes a hospital will block parents from removing a child from their care.

The next thing you know, Child Protective Services (CPS) is involved, claiming they have the right to take your child from your custody to administer the recommended hospital treatment anyway.

“Your child has been medically kidnapped and it’s very difficult to do anything about it,” said Dr. Richard Fox, a pediatrician and a lawyer, who once taught at Harvard Medical School and is a board member with Free Now Foundation, a nonprofit that defends medical freedom in California.

Dr. Fox said he recently helped a family in Northern California save their child from what they’re calling a medical kidnapping.

On Sept. 21, 2023, Hope Schachter and her husband William took their daughter Autumn, 4, to the hospital with what appeared to be a stomach bug.

“We went to the emergency room at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, and they told us that our daughter had an E. coli infection [a type of food poisoning]. They told us they did not treat pediatric E. coli, so we would have to go to the closest children’s hospital which was Lucile Packard,” a Stanford University teaching hospital, said Mrs. Schachter.

As a licensed family therapist, she had worked at that very same hospital before, so she was familiar with how teaching hospitals work.

“I really didn’t want students handling my child’s care,” she said.

Despite their reservations, Mr. and Mrs. Schachter followed the advice of the medical professionals and took their daughter to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. However, they said it didn’t take long for them to lose confidence in the Lucile Packard medical team. Mrs. Schachter discovered that Lucile Packard doctors had been consulting with the first hospital, and before the family arrived, doctors at Lucile Packard had already recommended a course of treatment for a rare syndrome called HUS, hemolytic uremic syndrome.

“They said that E. coli releases a toxic byproduct as it’s broken down which impacts the kidneys and starts to affect their functioning,” she said.

Mrs. Schachter said when they arrived at the teaching hospital, they were met with morbid excitement at the prospect of treating a rarely seen syndrome.

“This is a very serious condition; she could die,” someone said in front of little Autumn, which frightened the girl, she said. Mrs. Schachter said the attending physician even said, “She’ll be our case study of the week!”

Mrs. Schachter now believes that her daughter did not have this rare syndrome. Her concern for her daughter deepened when she learned that the recommended treatment appeared not to involve treating the E. coli, but administering powerful diuretics to her little girl, including Lasix, Diuril, and Bumex. When she looked up Bumex on an MD-vetted website, she said it warned, “not intended for minors.” And, under “pediatric use,” Diuril’s FDA package insert states, “no well-controlled clinical trials in pediatric patients.”

Mrs. Schachter says the treatment, which caused her daughter to urinate excessively, made no sense to her. “She had been urinating just fine. I was surprised because I imagined after five days of diarrhea, even though we had been giving her fluids to drink, that she’d be dehydrated,” she said.

When doctors began the treatment, Mrs. Schachter says her daughter’s condition deteriorated rapidly. “Within 20 minutes we saw her kidney function decline, and she reached kidney failure. Her eyes rolled in different directions, and she was crying,” she said.

Mrs. Schachter claims a nurse even protested to the doctors, “this is unsafe,” but said they continued to put the powerful cocktail of drugs into her daughter’s IV bag.

As nine days passed, Mrs. Schachter says the medical procedures became more invasive. She watched in disbelief as her daughter, who was brought in for food poisoning, was sedated, put in wrist restraints, on dialysis, and on a ventilator. Once Mrs. Schachter said she caught a medical student cutting into her daughter’s neck to insert a stent without the supervising doctor in the room.

“At one point, they insisted on surgically inserting a PICC line to her heart even though they had just placed three IVs in my daughter. They had put in a catheter, she has a feeding tube, and she’s intubated on a ventilator,” she said.

Mrs. Schachter says the last straw happened when her daughter appeared to be improving. She walked into her daughter’s room and discovered her daughter’s blood pressure was skyrocketing. When Mrs. Schachter asked what happened, “They said, we just gave her the Lasix about an hour ago.”

Mrs. Schachter says she didn’t consent to that. “If they looked at her chart, they would have seen that we had switched to using a gentler diuretic. I have to consent before you give my child any medications,” she said.

“I start talking about how I am going to file grievances. Within 24 hours, they call CPS on our family. I believe that given all the malpractice we had witnessed, that was a way to cover themselves, if they deem us unfit,” she said.

Mrs. Schachter said she was frightened for her daughter and wanted to move her elsewhere to get another medical opinion, but “it was evident that they weren’t going to let us leave.”

The hospital had CPS step in and take the Schachter family to court. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital did not return a request for comment, but in court papers, they claim that the family wasn’t in compliance with the recommended treatment.

However, Mrs. Schachter said they had complied with every treatment doctors suggested. “Minutes before the hearing, the Lucile Packard medical team admitted that their accusations against us were untrue, that we were in compliance with their medical recommendations,” she alleged.

Yet the hearing went forward, and the judge gave Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital ultimate rights over her daughter. “We were in a hostage situation,” Mrs. Schachter said. That’s when she called Free Now Foundation where, in full transparency, I work as editor-in-chief.

“A medical kidnapping can occur when parents disagree with doctors about a child’s diagnosis or recommended course of treatment and the doctors use CPS to get consent for treatment instead of obtaining consent from the parents by making the required efforts to communicate reasonably with them and to reasonably address their concerns,” said Dr. Fox, who stepped in to help the Schachter family on behalf of Free Now Foundation. “Here, in my opinion, if that process occurred, the medical chart did not adequately document it. Legally, if that process is not documented in the medical chart, it never happened.”

Dr. Fox said he was able to act quickly and get Autumn out of the hospital and back home where her condition is slowly improving under his care.

“Sadly, this happens to families all too often,” said Dr. Fox. He advised parents, whenever CPS is involved, tread carefully, with the help of an attorney. “Hospitals can abuse their power, and innocent children can get caught in the middle.”

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Kristin Lang Epoch Times Author Bio

Kristin Lang

About the Author, Kristin Lang

Kristin Lang is the Editor-In-Chief and Operations Director for Free Now Foundation. Previously, she served as a communications vice president in a Global 500 healthcare company. She is also an Emmy award-winning executive television producer and on-camera investigative journalist. Kristin’s strong beliefs in civil liberties and medical freedom led her to Free Now Foundation, where she is excited to develop original content and thought-provoking commentary.

1 Comment

  1. Judy Julin

    A chilling, well articulated account of the alarmingly sad state of pediatric care in our state. Bless you for writing such a heart-wrenching account of a parent’s worst nightmare. Thank you also Dr. Fox & Kristin Lang for your courage to shine a light on this dark reveal! Let’s share this far & wide!


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