Sunday, July 12, 2015

Medical child abuse revisited

Original Medical child abuse post 4/15/15 (See also Justina's law 6/25/15 and Isaiah Rider revisited 6/1/15)

Few things are tougher for a parent than dealing with a child’s serious medical condition, particularly if it is complicated and hard to diagnose. The parent has to make hard choices about treatment, navigating conflicting advice from doctors or even rejecting one doctor’s opinion and seeking another.

Recently, the situation of these parents has gotten even harder. Some doctors and hospitals have begun to level a radical new charge — “medical child abuse” — against parents who, they say, get unnecessary or excessive treatment for their kids. That this care is usually ordered by other doctors hasn’t protected parents from these loaded accusations.
Although most of these cases have nothing to do with real child abuse, credulous child welfare officials have too often supported the doctors, threatened parents with loss of custody, and even removed kids from their homes — simply because the parents disagreed with the doctor’s plan of care.
Perhaps the most notorious such case is that of Justina Pelletier, a teenager who was being treated for mitochondrial disease, or “mito,” a rare metabolic disorder that interferes with energy production. On the advice of a metabolic geneticist at Tufts Medical Center who was treating her, she was admitted in 2013 to Boston Children’s Hospital, so that she could see her longtime gastroenterologist, who had recently moved there. Without consulting the girl’s doctor at Tufts, Boston Children’s concluded that the girl’s problem was not mito, but largely psychiatric, according to The Boston Globe.
When her parents disagreed and sought to transfer her back to Tufts, Boston Children’s called child protection, asserting that the parents were harmfully interfering in her care. Although the Tufts geneticist supported the mito diagnosis, a juvenile court judge deferred to Boston Children’s assessment, and Justina’s parents lost custody. After more than 16 months in state custody, much of it spent in a locked psychiatric ward, Justina was finally returned to her parents — still in a wheelchair, still sick...
I write from experience. My husband and I are lucky not to have been charged with medical child abuse during the eight years we tried to find answers to our daughter’s mysterious illness.
Her symptoms began when she was 10 and had her first migraine. The headaches became so frequent, nauseating and painful that she missed most school for two years. Eventually, at 13, she received a diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (see POTS--taking a stand 6/5/15), an autonomic nervous system disorder.
We learned how to deal with this condition, but when our daughter was 15, her health deteriorated once again. She started to fall — first once a day, then five times, then 20 times a day. The dizziness, fatigue and nausea worsened. When her neurologist refused to believe that the falls were caused by anything besides faintness from the nervous system disorder — though we could see that she was fully conscious and that her legs weren’t working properly during the falls — we sought out other experts. None could explain the falls. Meanwhile, our daughter spent two years using a wheelchair to go all but the shortest of distances.
Many doctors suggested that she was exaggerating or even faking her symptoms. A few thought her symptoms resulted from psychological factors like stress. Others surmised that the problem was me: Perhaps because I had migraines when I was younger, I was overly sensitive to her pain. Or perhaps my refusal to accept the doctors’ conclusions was preventing my daughter from dealing with her psychological issues.
When she was 18, our daughter learned that some patients with her nervous-system disorder had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, which would also explain her intermittent leg weakness. We consulted a mito expert, and almost wept with relief when she believed our account of our daughter’s symptoms. Tests confirmed that our daughter had mito. With luck and a team of exceptional doctors, she managed to get her life back. She recently finished her third year of college. Her wheelchair gathers dust in our basement...
They defined “potentially harmful” to include any unnecessary medicine or diagnostic test that could have harmful side effects, even if the child wasn’t actually harmed. Such care, they argued, should be labeled medical child abuse, and treated like any other kind of child abuse.
But there is no solid evidence that their standard helps to sort out parents who intentionally use medical care to hurt their children from well-meaning, innocent parents. Indeed, Drs. Jenny and Roesler recognized that most kids identified by their criteria were truly sick (though they believe the kids received excessive, inappropriate care) and that their criteria identified far more parents than the standard Munchausen criteria...
The task force identified these warning signs of medical child abuse: a “highly attentive parent” who is “unusually reluctant to leave his/her child’s side”; a parent who “demands second and third opinions”; a parent who “is not relieved or reassured when presented with negative test results and resists having the child discharged from the hospital”; and a parent who has “unusually detailed medical knowledge.” These warning signs accurately describe many, if not most, loving parents of medically fragile children.


  1. Jessica and Sean Hilliard of Attleboro, Mass., went through the agony of watching their 5-year-old daughter die in 2011 from what two outside specialists concluded was a genetic disease that affected mitochondrial function. The couple asked Boston Children’s, where the daughter died, to test their 3-year-old son for the disease after he showed symptoms suggestive of it (mito can run in families). A hospital pediatrician specializing in child protection, citing a pattern of behavior that she contended suggested abuse, accused the parents of fabricating their son’s medical issues, though she had not spoken with his outside doctors and therapists.

    After the state declared the charges unfounded, the Hilliards transferred their son’s care to Tufts, where he received several diagnoses, including mitochondrial disease. Even so, the Boston Children’s pediatrician called a Tufts doctor who focuses on child abuse, who then reported the parents for “overmedicalization.” The state intervened, over the objections of doctors at Tufts who were treating the boy. To resolve the charges, the Hilliards allowed him to be weaned off his medications. This required a six-week hospitalization, during which his condition deteriorated, until the treatments were restored. Again, the charges were dropped.

    (Asked about the Pelletier and Hilliard cases, a spokesman for Boston Children’s disputed the facts but said the hospital could not discuss specifics of these cases because of privacy restrictions; he noted that health providers are obliged by law to report suspected abuse. Tufts said it couldn’t discuss the Hilliard case.)


  2. Sara and Paul Mayo of Arlington, Tex., checked their 16-year-old daughter into Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth last November. It was her third admission in two months for acute stomach pain with no clear cause. This time, she had difficulty walking after taking her prescribed medications. A hospitalist and a neurologist who had not treated their daughter previously diagnosed a psychological disorder, and said she required in-patient treatment. When the Mayos disagreed, asserting they wanted a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic (no relation) in Rochester, Minn., the Texas hospital called the authorities to report their suspicions of medical child abuse. The charges were dropped only after the Mayo Clinic found that the daughter had gastric ulcers, among other ailments.

    (A spokeswoman for Cook Children’s said that she could not discuss the case because of confidentiality rules, but added that the hospital was “morally and ethically obligated to protect children” and would “always err on the side of caution for that child.”)


  3. Each case must be evaluated on individual merits and just because a parent has searched the internet and decided their child has a particular disease does not make it so. Comments MontanaMom

  4. Cases such as Justina Pelletier's are indeed disturbing and show how out of control some psychologists and doctors are. The Boston Globe reported that psychologist Simona Bujoreanu, along with Dr. Jurriaan Peters, originally diagnosed Justina with "somatoform disorder" and was instrumental in removing the child from her family's home.

    Bujoreanu has zero medical training. Yet in an article she co-authored, "Approach to Psychosomatic Illness in Adolescents," Bujoreanu makes the astonishing claim that fully HALF of all sick children have psychosomatic illness. She writes, "Up to 50% of patients in pediatric care will complain of medically unexplained symptoms with significant functional and emotional impairment." (Source:

    Ironically, Bujoreanu asserts that "Somatoform disorders in pediatric care are associated with…school problems/absenteeism." In fact, Justina was attending school and doing well until February, 2013, when Bujoreanu and her colleagues stepped in and placed the girl in a locked psychiatric ward at Boston Children's Hospital. Justina did not attend school for nearly two years because of Bujoreanu's actions.

    It's time for legislators to STOP these harmful "medical" abductions by Bujoreanu, Peters and others like them. Psychologists and doctors should not be allowed to kidnap our sick children. Comments Flo 7/12/15

  5. Eichner discusses Munchausen syndrome by proxy, whereby some parents may exaggerate or even create their child’s illness to get attention. But she puts it in perspective: It is exceedingly rare. We talk about it (and see it on TV) for the same reason we talk about Satanic child abusers: it is that outrageous. But being outrageous doesn’t make it common. It is certainly far less common than frantic parents trying to help children with difficult-to-diagnose illnesses.

    As a society, we sometimes seem determined to imagine anyone having anything to do with kids—including their own parents—as monsters. This is what happened to the Meitivs in Maryland (see Unattended Children 4/14/15): The parenting decisions they made out of love and rationality were interpreted as harmful. The real monsters today are the ones who see “child abuse” even when staring at kind, compassionate adults.

  6. To the Editor: Re “The New Child Abuse Panic” (Sunday Review, July 12): Medical child abuse, also known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy and caregiver-fabricated illness in a child, is a serious form of child abuse that often leaves the child disfigured, disabled or even dead. Children can be subjected to major surgeries, repeated hospitalizations, painful diagnostic tests, invasive procedures and a loss of the opportunity to experience a normal childhood.

    Maxine Eichner’s essay did children a grave disservice. In contrast to the criteria she cited, the American Academy of Pediatrics provides detailed guidance for physicians who suspect caregiver-fabricated illness. The guidance says that the physician should search for “other medical explanations,” including mitochondrial disease. The essay not only dismisses the painstaking work of pediatricians who carefully evaluate alternative medical explanations for symptoms, but, most important, it also minimizes the reality of this disease and therefore places children at risk.



    The writer, a pediatrician, is chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.

  7. As the parent of a 2-year-old child with a rare medical condition, I find that the belief that doctors know more about a child than his or her own parents is becoming rampant. I have had to argue on more than one occasion with doctors and medical staff that no, my child does not have the flu, she has food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, or Fpies, a rare and little-known gastrointestinal disorder. This “overzealous” parenting that is a necessity to keep my child safe and advocate for proper care puts a target on our back. We live in fear that well-meaning, albeit presumptuous, doctors or nurses will report us as being medically abusive simply for insisting that we know more about this condition (even if they have never heard of it), want a second or third opinion, or disagree with their so-called expert opinion (how dare we!)....


    Puyallup, Wash.

    Like Justina and Ms. Eichner’s daughter, my son suffers from a mitochondrial disorder, which fully erupted around his 14th birthday. The first 19 doctors he saw, all from major teaching hospitals in Manhattan, didn’t know what was wrong with him. They either prescribed treatments that didn’t address the cause and had devastating side effects, or sent me on to a different specialist. Finally doctor No. 20 diagnosed a mitochondrial disorder. She designed a treatment plan that miraculously restored him to health. I cringe to think what would have happened had I not been in the center of the process, keeping a journal of every nuance of his condition, and persisting until he got what he needed. His pediatrician had neither the time nor the experience to direct his care, so who else was going to step up to the plate?


    New York

  8. To the Editor: As a pediatric psychiatrist specializing in bipolar disorder and difficult-to-diagnose youngsters who present with psychiatric symptoms, I applaud Maxine Eichner’s article. I have been appalled at the recent trend to accuse parents of child abuse if there is a disagreement or misunderstanding between physicians, or schools and parents.

    The youths I see are often very ill, with multiple psychiatric and physical disorders. Their parents often are very bright and well educated, and have extensively read medical literature in the search to explain their child’s behavior. Often they have seen many specialists, and if their child remains severely dysfunctional, alternative medical practitioners.

    Most of these parents should be recipients of awards, not legal accusations, given their tireless efforts and sacrifices, both personal and financial, in order to get their children proper help. I absolutely agree with Ms. Eichner that “government should not get involved when doctors disagree about a diagnosis or course of treatment.” In most cases, who will confront all obstacles to care as steadfastly and earnestly as a child’s parents?


    Summit, N.J.

  9. To the Editor: Thank you for highlighting the recent rise in medical child abuse allegations made against parents of children with rare and complex medical conditions. This is a troubling situation. Physicians disagree all the time. That is not a reason to take children away from their family.

    A national study found that 14.8 percent of second opinions result in a change in diagnosis and 37.4 percent result in a change in treatment. Those percentages are probably much higher for rare, complex or poorly understood medical conditions. For children (and adults) with such medical conditions, sometimes there is no clear answer on what the “correct” treatment is. Evidence-based medicine is great when you have solid evidence to go on, but there are thousands of medical conditions that have barely been studied, and thus have no standardized diagnostic criteria or treatment protocols. Parents who follow a licensed physician’s advice should never lose custody, and children should not lose access to treatment, simply because another doctor disagrees.


    East Moriches, N.Y.

    The writer is president of Dysautonomia International.

  10. To the Editor: In my experience as a doctor, the true failing of the medical community is underreporting suspected abuse. Child Protective Services and the legal system are doing too little, too late. I believe that the vast majority of physicians interact with parents who exhibit the “warning signs” of medical child abuse fairly frequently. For a situation to qualify as suspected medical child abuse, there has to be suspected harm to the child. Physicians are not in the habit of reporting parents to Child Protective Services who are perceived as demanding or overbearing, as the writer seems to suggest.

    Disgruntled parents and patients are free to give their account of an illness or situation to the media. The doctors and hospitals who treat the patients are constrained by privacy laws and therefore unable to give their version of events. One should always keep this in mind when reading an article like this.


    North Wilkesboro, N.C.

  11. Nibbles
    AnytownJuly 12, 2015
    Horrendous. We are parents of a medically fragile girl with seizures. At age 2, one of the most pre-eminent centers specializing in seizures diagnosed her as having a certain rare form of epilepsy, that could only be managed by getting rid of half her brain. There was no formal proof for any of this (and it is a very diffiult to diagnose)- but as this particular center has atleast 2 cases come through, they were rather certain of this, and pushed for this radical surgery- without which she would likely be paralysed for life. We are both scientifically literate, and could not fathom how such a serious diagnosis, with huge implications could be made with so little data. We persevered, refused their plan of action, and sought another opinion. Our new doctor (a wonderful human being- yes they do exist), agreed that it was too early to tell; and helped start her on the ketogenic diet ( a high fat, low carb diet). 3 years on, and she starting kindergarden, an absolute joy, and generally having a very full, rich -normal for a 5 year old-life. I shudder to think if we were not lucky enough to have some scientific training, and not too initimated by the doctors medical speak; and presence of mind at the time of her initial diagnosis-our lovely daughter would be a far different state.

  12. Dr. Feelgood
    Providence, RIJuly 12, 2015
    To play devil's advocate, and since there seems to be no disagreement among the author or the readers with the overarching sentiment that the "mainstream medical profession" (ie the vast majority of physicians) is either misinformed or criminally negligent, consider the following:

    What if Dr. Mark Korson (the geneticist at Tufts taking care of Justina Pelletier) had recently had his metabolic and mitochondrial clinic shut down by Tufts? (true) What if Dr. Frances Kendall (the geneticist taking care of the author's daughter) ran a (fee for service) clinic offering any test a family can afford, very few of which have been validated or provide a definitive diagnosis (as Dr. Kendall herself reports), and offered a miracle treatment consisting of support and affirmation as well as a panoply of vitamins and other nutritional supplements available for purchase (of which none of which have been proven to be effective treatments, aside, of course, from support and affirmation)? (also true)

    My point is not that these doctors are quacks, in fact they are well respected members of their field, but instead is that just as questioning a psychiatric and/or somatic diagnosis is appropriate, so too is questioning the diagnosis and/or treatment of a mitochondrial disorder. The unfounded presumption that it was "hubris" rather than a careful and thoughtful clinical evaluation that drove the evaluating physicians to diagnosis the former rather than the latter seems unfair.

  13. Mark
    NYCJuly 12, 2015
    Symptoms of "mito" are vague -fatigue, weakness, headache, w/ no definitive lab tests. My guess is that kids described in this article were found to have variations in their mitochondrial dna, but that there’s no evidence that those variations cause symptoms. Of the 2 "mito" docs mentioned, 1 is unaffiliated with any hospital or med school & was accused of stealing pt records from a for-profit mito testing company she founded. The other had his "mito" clinic shut down by tufts. Seems like mito docs are just like lyme-literate & "biomed" docs, catering to pts who can’t be diagnosed/treated by traditional MDs. I feel for these pts. Many likely do have some undiagnosed disorder, & if I were in such a situation, I too might want a sympathetic doc willing to jump ahead of current evidence-based medicine to try to help me, even though that help might not have been proven to be effective. The problem is, some of these docs are quacks, & some of their treatments are dangerous. Fortunately, treatment for mitochondrial disorders (whether proven or speculative) is pretty benign -a bunch of supplements you'd have to gobble down constantly to even come close to toxicity. But other treatments, e.g. chelation for autism supposed caused by heavy metals, can be fatal. A parent subjecting their kid to unproven therapies prescribed by a non-mainstream doc needs to realize their decisions may be questioned by others - friends, family, social services – who care about the child’s welfare.


  14. Cyndi Brown
    Franklin, TNJuly 12, 2015
    I had severe migraine headaches from age 3 until age 29, when they suddenly stopped. My parent's lives evolved around days of sitting with me in a dark room, handing out aspirin and holding cold rags on my head, doctor visits, and numerous trips to the hospital for testing. My headaches were real, and kept me from doing what most kids were doing....playing.

    I shudder to think what my parents might have had to endure had they been accused of medical abuse, on top of the hurt they were already experiencing having to watch me, at least once a week, in so much pain that I would often kick the walls!!

    I didn't find out until my 50's that I had been born with a hole in my heart, which can cause severe migraines, and that when the hole in my heart closed up on it's own, the migraines stopped. It's hard enough in today's world, for a woman to be diagnosed with heart disease, let alone in the 1950s, when no one would have ever suspected it was my heart, especially coming from a family where there was no family history of heart disease.

    Several years ago, I was giving a presentation, at a conference, to a room full of cardiologists, when one of them asked the question, "How do I differentiate between a woman who is psychosomatic and one who truly has heart disease?" I answered, initially, in two words, "You don't!" I then asked him, "Are you saying that a woman who is schizophrenic, bipolar or has mental illness CANNOT have heart disease?" You could hear a pin drop!


  15. John LeBaron
    MAJuly 12, 2015
    There is no doubt that abuse was present in some, if not all, cases cited in this article, but it was not parental. At some point, society must leave critical medical decisions, provided that they are supported by qualified medical practitioners, to the families left to deal with the consequences. This principle extends to a woman's right to the choice of how she manages her reproductive decisions.

    In Justina's case, what seems to have become a practitioner spitting contest between BCH and Tufts resulted in extreme and unnecessary suffering for a child. That child was surely abused -- by the doctors and hospitals who willingly ignored a her well-being to salve a few out-of-control medical egos. This would be in direct contravention of the Hippocratic Oath.

  16. Lauren Stiles
    East Moriches, NYJuly 12, 2015
    As an attorney in NY, I am unaware of any law that requires a doctor to suspect or report abuse when that doctor simply disagrees with another doctor's diagnosis or treatment plan. That is what is going on in these cases. There is no bad act or omission on the part of the parent, other than choosing to follow the advice of another doctor. That's not abuse - that's a constitutionally protected right.

  17. Michele Somerville
    Brooklyn, NYJuly 12, 2015
    It is distressing to know that some parents might be punished by this diagnosis while undergoing the strain of seeking treatment for a sick child, but there are other co-existing behaviors that suggest that a parent has Munchausen's By Proxy: histrionic features apart from the physical symptoms, a penchant for celebrating hospitalizations and lionizing physicians and often other forms of exhibitionism. In many cases, children of parents with Munchausen By Proxy do not have pediatricians, yet it normally falls to pediatricians not only to coordinate intervention, but to gain some sense, through knowing the parent involved, of the psychological/psychiatric health of that parent. Seeking extraordinary treatments for sickness alone does not necessarily suggest Muchausen's By Proxy. A good pediatrician would notice manic qualities, fetishizing of hospitals and medical personnel, compulsive attention-getting, a parent (mom, usually) who embraces the hero mode exhibits a with a tendency to perform, and a pattern of pathological dishonest that goes beyond lying (possibly) about symptoms. Obviously, no parent should be investigated or treated unjustly for trying to heal her child--but children die of this disorder.

    P. K. Todd
    AmericaJuly 12, 2015
    Another sign of Munchausen by Proxy which is documented in almost all cases where formal accusations are made: The symptoms go away when the parents do. The medical problems only occur when the parent has access to the kid.

    A major factor in the recognition of Munchausen by Proxy was development of the video camera. In suspected cases, researchers left children alone with their parents and videotaped what happened. Many of the parents could plainly be seen smothering their children, messing with their IVs or performing other harmful acts. Nurses watching on monitors from the next room had to run to the children's rescue.

  18. Two years ago, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families held young Justina Pelletier against her and her family’s will. Besides the ongoing work of local activities and Fox News anchor (and Presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee, no one knew about this Orwellian dystopia nightmare. Finally, after much pressure (including my reporting in the Worcester, MA media), Justina was released to another facility in her own state of Connecticut. The greatest failure in this disturbing case of government overreach? The widespread media failure not to report.!

  19. A year ago, the New Mexico Medical Board deemed there was enough evidence to accuse a Santa Fe physician of gross negligence for allegedly treating a child for medical conditions that didn’t exist.

    But the case against Dr. Kenneth Stoller, nationally renowned for his alternative medicine practice and founder of a hyperbaric oxygen therapy center in Santa Fe, started to unravel.

    A medical board hearing officer, in a report released last week, called that accusation “a muddled mess” that wasn’t supported by the evidence.

    Hearing officer Jennifer G. Anderson did chide Stoller for his “rash and unprofessional lack of cooperation” with a medical child abuse investigation that targeted the mother of that same young patient. In that respect, Stoller violated the state Medical Practice Act, the hearing officer report stated.

    But last week, the Medical Board voted to take no disciplinary action against Stoller short of sending him an “advisory letter.”

    The complaint against Stoller was filed by Dr. Leslie Strickler, head of the UNMH Child Abuse Response Team, who investigated the abuse allegations involving a young girl Stoller treated between 2009 and 2012, the hearing officer’s report stated...

    Stoller’s attorney, Kate Ferlic of Santa Fe, said she believes the disciplinary case should never have been filed.

    “He’s a professional, a very caring doctor,” she said.

    Strickler didn’t respond to requests for comment on Friday, but a UNMH spokesman defended “good faith reports” to the medical board.

    “The UNM Health Sciences Center stands behind Dr. Strickler and her important work for the children of New Mexico,” spokesman John Arnold said in an email...

    Stoller treated the “medically fragile” child for developmental delays and colitis. She showed signs of improvement under his care.

    One of the treatments he prescribed was hyperbaric oxygen, but the board’s prosecutor conceded that the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy wasn’t at issue in the case.

    The question of whether Stoller provided the child unnecessary medical treatment was the “cornerstone” of the prosecutor’s case, but the prosecutor relied on a single witness to prove the allegation – Strickler from UNMH.

    But even Strickler denied under oath that Stoller had unnecessarily treated the patient.

    Strickler mainly criticized Stoller for allegedly failing to de-escalate the mother’s pursuit of medical care for the child...

    Strickler, acting on a referral by another medical provider who was concerned the child was being medically abused by her mother, sought records from all the girl’s treating physicians. Only Stoller failed to respond to the request. Stoller testified that he did so because the patient’s mother asked him to.

    Stoller also testified that he was so opposed to the notion that the mother “was neglecting or abusing her child that he ‘would have burned (his) medical license before (he) would have said (the mother) was abusing her child,’ ” the report stated...

    Strickler ultimately determined the girl was a victim of medical abuse and testified against the girl’s parents in related hearings.

    Stoller testified in support of the mother in those hearings. The mother, according to the board complaint, was subsequently found to have abused or neglected her daughter by fabricating medical conditions allegedly afflicting the child.

  20. Bulldozer Health Inc. ( was born, and Wendy's path toward advocating for medical freedoms was clear…

    One of the nonprofit's central focuses is a push to ban psychiatric drug advertisements from television. "We won't rest until we accomplish that," Edge said. But the story of Justina Pelletier (http:/) r=o) took them in a symbiotic but different direction.

    Pelletier was taken from her parents in 2013 when differing diagnoses of her condition (from separate Boston hospitals) and her parents' preferring one course of action over another led to a drawn-out legal battle and national headlines.
    The teenager spent 16 months in state custody.

    She returned to her West Hartford, Conn., home, but remains ill and endured surgery in July ( .

    That the Pelletiers were pulled into such an ordeal was a disturbing turning point for Wendy.

    "I was angered and baffled that parents' rights to choose medical treatments for their children were being taken away," she said. "I talked to our board about doing a film on the subject to follow some of the families and investigate fully the idea of our disappearing freedom not only to choose and have access to health care options, but to choose for our children."

    Medical kidnapping ( is the heads to medical child abuse (htto:// 's tails, two sides of the same coin with children stuck impossibly in the middle. How can a doctor know the child better than his/her parents? How can parents think they're qualified to flout an experienced doctor's opinion?

    Either way, removing a child from his/her home is a decidedly drastic measure.
    Indeed, "Medically Kidnapped: Crimes Against Our Children," is a startling and arresting title amid the roster of films seeking support on Indiegogo, like "Bear City 3" and "Easy Girl."

    Wendy enlisted Oxygen — with whom she continues to amicably collaborate on a number of Bulldozer Health projects, including regular podcasts — and well-known local musician Ari Charbonneau to be the creative muscle behind the documentary, which will initially focus on four families (from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and Oregon) who have already agreed to tell their stories.

    "Our medical freedoms are being taken away from us, slowly but surely, and the majority of America is either unaware or in denial of this truth," Oxygen said. "I hope to make more people aware through this documentary."