A few weeks back, I reminded readers that they should be on alert when taking their children to hospitals in lieu of the Justina Pelletier case, where she was removed from her family’s care for more than a year.
This came after a bad diagnosis and her parents became irate with what was going on. Their actions, along with a diagnosis of a mental condition, led to Justina being pulled from her home.
A similar incident took place this past month in Springfield, Mo. when a mom named Mandi Wilson took her 7-year-old son, who is losing his hearing, to an audiologist at Mercy Medical Center.
She innocently took a picture with her phone of him with the audiologist and posted it on Facebook.
As she tried to take the photo, the audiologist waved her hands in the mom’s face and was reportedly “freaking out.”
Soon after she was taken away from her son and placed in an office to be questioned by a hospital security guard.
The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGqINIwOArg
The audiologist said it was against policy for the mom to take a photo.
A security guard then asked to view pictures on her phone, which she said she deleted just after she was told of the policy.
Wilson refused to give the guard her phone, as she knows the guard needed a warrant to confiscate it.
When she refused, she was told that she was trespassing and was asked for her identification.
The guard cited legal and HIPAA reasons for not allowing the photos, even though HIPAA actually protects patients and has nothing to do with any photo rule.
The guard even said the incident could be reported to Medicaid.
“I was scared,” Wilson said in an interview with KSPR. “They were scaring me, intimidating me and I didn’t know what they were doing with my kid.
For some reason, my only thoughts were she’s on Medicaid so they are going to call CPS and report me to Medicaid.”
A spokesperson for the hospital said Mercy’s policy forbids visitors from including other people in photographs. But she also said the story prompted a review of how Mercy officials enforce the policies regarding photography within their facilities.
In summary, a guard was overstepping his authority, and along with the audiologist, handled a situation poorly.
In the meantime, this mom was separated from her son as officials authorized themselves to do so.
Wilson knew her rights and calmly, as is heard on her recording of a conversation with the guard, pleading her case. Again, this type of scenario has hit extremely close to home. It’s important that all of us remember our rights when faced with a similar situation. How would you handle things?