Green Room

Florida seized disabled child from mother, child died hours later

posted at 12:55 pm on December 6, 2012 by

This is an unbelievably horrific story, almost literally unbelievable.  Florida’s child-protection system seized a disabled child from her mother in defiance of a court order, and despite the mother’s pleas that the child would die without her supervision.  And sure enough, just hours later, 14-year-old Marie Freyre was dead.

Someone should be going to prison over this:

Even after Marie Freyre died alone in a nursing home 250 miles from the family in North Tampa that loved her, Marie’s mother had to fight to bring her home.

In March 2011, state child protection investigators took 14-year-old Marie from her mother, Doris Freyre, claiming Doris’ own disabilities made it almost impossible for her to care for Marie, who suffered from seizures and severe cerebral palsy. But a Tampa judge signed an order that Marie be returned to her mother, with in-home nursing care around the clock.

Florida health care administrators refused to pay for it, although in-home care can be demonstrably cheaper than care in an institution. Child welfare workers ignored the order completely.

Two months later, Marie was strapped into an ambulance for a five-hour trip to a Miami Gardens nursing home, as her mother begged futilely to go with her.

Marie died 12 hours after she arrived.

A month earlier, Judge Vivian Corvo ordered the state to provide an overnight nurse for the child.  Instead …

So, at 11:30 a.m. April 25, 2011, workers at Tampa General Hospital loaded the teen onto a stretcher in a private ambulance — as her mother and grandfather begged them to stop. Even as caseworkers were packing Marie’s belongings, her grandfather was frantically filing hand-written emergency motions in court to delay the trip, Brudny said.

Doris Freyre, case notes say, “stated that no one knows my child like me,” and that Marie’s dislocated hip would cause her great pain if she were strapped to a stretcher for hours. She added: “If something happens to my daughter I am holding all of you responsible for it.”

Freyre had no car — and the private ambulance refused to allow her to join Marie — so Marie made the trip to Miami-Dade County alone.

Records show the two ambulance workers refused to take Marie’s seizure drugs with them; under the company’s policy, they were not allowed to administer medications in any case. According to a report detailing Tampa General Hospital’s care of Marie, the hospital neglected to ensure she was properly hydrated before she left. During her five-hour ambulance ride, she was given no water or food. …

Marie arrived in Miami Gardens the way she left Tampa: screaming. AHCA records for the next 12 hours mention only four notations in the nursing home file, and two of them document Marie “screaming.”

By 5:40 a.m. April 27, 2011, Marie was described as having “labored” breathing. Five minutes later, she was unresponsive. The AHCA investigation concluded she had been given none of her life-sustaining anti-seizure drugs, required three times each day.

Marie was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m. Cause of death: heart attack.

Via The Anchoress.

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I’d like to comment, but I’m going to have to calm down first.

Ward Cleaver on December 6, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I don’t understand the prosecutor’s (Attila) insistence that a nursing home was the only proper placement. It’s obviously cheaper to add a night nurse for home care.

Why was she so adamant? Kickbacks? Unrealistic ideas about the kind of care a nursing home for elderly people would provide the child?

The hospital that allowed (demanded) transfer was investigated, sanctioned, fined and forced to submit a corrective plan for future cases. They refused to allow medication and failed to hydrate. But the kid should never have been in the hospital

Why wasn’t a night nurse enough?

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Tar and feathers, for a start.

rbj on December 6, 2012 at 1:06 PM

The treatment of her and her family is simply shameful. I hope the judge pursues this.

Imrahil on December 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

OMG, this breaks my heart and tears, I can hardly type. I pray that some lawyer could get involved and the judge what gave his ruling holds these people accountable.

God bless Marie’s tiny heart. God, please hold her in Your arms.
L

letget on December 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The hospital is obviously culpable, though the transfer seems related to their refusal to maintain a patient who did not belong in a hospital at all – something like “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

It still boggles. Around the clock care would have been cheaper, assuming survival.

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I mean, around the clock HOME care.

Why wouldn’t AHCA authorize it? The judge ORDERED it.

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Florida has the worst DCF in the country. I have a friend who’s thirty-something son had the capacity of a six month old. She was constantly fighting to keep him under her care. Home care isn’t cheaper when the patient dies, Ed.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Marie arrived in Miami Gardens the way she left Tampa: screaming. AHCA records for the next 12 hours mention only four notations in the nursing home file, and two of them document Marie “screaming.”

By 5:40 a.m. April 27, 2011, Marie was described as having “labored” breathing. Five minutes later, she was unresponsive. The AHCA investigation concluded she had been given none of her life-sustaining anti-seizure drugs, required three times each day.

Marie was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m. Cause of death: heart attack.

DId they just literally torture a disabled girl to death?

lester on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

This is going to be the future of government run health care in America….

This is also what happens when you have hordes of civil service folks who think they are god, above the law, cannot be fired, and must justify their existence every so often by smacking around the civilian population. It is already happened with the IRS and EPA…can’t wait to see the health care police at my door hauling me away because I am handicapped. After all it is for the good of the nation…like 1930s Nazi Germany.

Scum Village here I come!

William Eaton on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

That’s awful. What the hell is wrong with people?

Child protective services, imo, is often nothing more than state-sanctioned thuggery. I understand that some cases warrant their intervention, but they have way too much power.

changer1701 on December 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

This is going to be the future of government run health care in America….

This is also what happens when you have hordes of civil service folks who think they are god, above the law, cannot be fired, and must justify their existence every so often by smacking around the civilian population. It is already happened with the IRS and EPA…can’t wait to see the health care police at my door hauling me away because I am handicapped. After all it is for the good of the nation…like 1930s Nazi Germany.

Scum Village here I come!

William Eaton on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Square in the black. This is coming to every citizen through ObamaCare and the expansion of all of his various unelected bureaucracies. He intends to rule by executive order, and force this nation into obedience.

We have options, but they are rapidly growing fewer by the week.

TKindred on December 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

This is totally believable. This is the direction the statists are taking us. No regard for personal rights, no regard for humanity. How these child “welfare” workers could load a screaming child into an ambulance while their guardians were begging them to stop shows an inhumanity last witnessed during the Holocaust. There. I said it. The G@d damned Holocaust. And don’t tell me these people were just doing their job/following orders. That excuse was trotted out plenty at Nuremberg.

teacherman on December 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Geez, there is so much wrong here, where to begin?

Here’s a question that needs to be asked: IF (and that’s a big if) there’s something we don’t know about that would have made it reasonable to move the child to nursing care, why 5 hours away unless the intention was to kill her?

There are nursing homes on every other corner in Tampa, why take her 5 hours away, why not 5 minutes so her mother could care for her in the nursing home?

JustTruth101 on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

DId they just literally torture a disabled girl to death?

lester on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

In the future they’ll just euthanize disabled people. Think it isn’t coming? Think again. First it was abortion, then assisted suicide – involuntary euthanasia isn’t a question of if, but when.

Ward Cleaver on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

This is just the beginning. I can see the entire pages of HA filled with these stories in a couple of years.

bbordwell on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Channeling my inner Schadenfreude…..

May all who laid an uncaring hand on this child give birth to cripples.

(spit)

CurtZHP on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Horrific story. Subhuman hospital personnel. But, please, let’s mock Sarah Palin over death panels some more.

This section gave me pause:

Civil rights lawyers are asking the state to allow a federal judge to oversee Florida’s Medicaid program, which insures needy and disabled people. It pays as much as $506 a day to put a child like Marie in a nursing home, but refuses to cover lesser or similar amounts for in-home care.

Late Friday, state health regulators wrote their final letter to the Justice Department in response to a deadline. The state, they wrote, “is not in violation of any federal law” governing the medical care delivered to needy Floridians, and cannot “agree to the demand … that a federal court take over the management of Florida’s Medicaid service-delivery system.”

Not really liking the idea of a federal takeover…

Robert_Paulson on December 6, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Civil rights lawyers are asking the state to allow a federal judge to oversee Florida’s Medicaid program, which insures needy and disabled people. It pays as much as $506 a day to put a child like Marie in a nursing home, but refuses to cover lesser or similar amounts for in-home care.

Freyre had asked the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide her with 24-hour nursing aides. As it stood, Freyre had a gap between midnight and 7 a.m. where she needed help to reposition Marie and change her diapers. “It’s not easy,” Freyre told the judge. “I’m human.”

But AHCA administrators refused to pay for the additional hours.

Two weeks later, the state Attorney General’s Office and Hillsborough Kids appeared before a different judge, Emily Peacock. AHCA, which runs Medicaid, had refused again to pay for 24-hour care, a lawyer said

But they were under significant pressure to get Marie out of Tampa General Hospital, where she was placed after child protection workers took her into state care. Records show the hospital complained bitterly that it was losing money on her care. A hospital social worker, records say, “was adamant about the child leaving the hospital today.”

It was all about the money. Someone should go to jail over this, or several someones.

mbs on December 6, 2012 at 1:23 PM

And don’t tell me these people were just doing their job/following orders. That excuse was trotted out plenty at Nuremberg.

teacherman on December 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Exactly. Give them no benefit of the doubt. At the very least they committed manslaughter.

chemman on December 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM

This is just the beginning. I can see the entire pages of HA filled with these stories in a couple of years.
bbordwell on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I can’t. The events will still happen, but any way to publicize and protest them (like HA) will be ‘dealt with’ first. The approved press won’t mention them.

Ignorance is bliss, and if you don’t know about the injustices, you can’t get upset, right?

“They just loaded them on trains… I didn’t know where they were going.”

Marcola on December 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Apparently these are the same state officials who helped kill Terry Schaivo.

itsnotaboutme on December 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I think the timeline needs a little clarification.

The girl was removed from her mother’s care. From there she was removed to state custody and placed in a hospital.
Despite orders to return the girl to home care with expanded services,
the hospital began to insist the girl be moved.

Medicaid (as administrated through AHCA) reviewed the case and again refused to provide the nursing care services ordered by Corvo.

Eventually there was a return to court and another hearing about moving the girl, because the only placement was far away in a facility not designed for her care.

The move to the nursing home went ahead at the insistence of an agent of the hospital.

You know the rest – the move was traumatic and the girl died.

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:32 PM

bbordwell on December 6, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I’m not sure we will hear about them, did you notice when this happened? Why are we only hearing about it over a year later?

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 1:33 PM

I hope this family sues the state for big $$$ that is just despicable on every level and several I can’t think of.

NerwenAldarion on December 6, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Apparently these are the same state officials who helped kill Terry Schaivo.

itsnotaboutme on December 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

It’s cheaper to kill them.

JustTruth101 on December 6, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Some one person made the decision to take this girl away from her mother.
Somewhere a piece of paper has been signed.
Find it and expose that person.
In the meantime, I wish that person miserable health.

Jabberwock on December 6, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I wonder why the case was taken to court in the first place. As noted above my friend fought them about institutionalizing her son also, I assume because they didn’t want to pay for their portion of the daycare he was in while she worked. Like I said, home care isn’t cheaper if the patient is dead.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Criminal.

DeathtotheSwiss on December 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

This horrible example of government interference, over-reach, and incompetence didn’t even end with the child’s death.

Marie’s body remained in storage for nine months while the medical examiner’s office completed its autopsy…

itsacookbook on December 6, 2012 at 1:43 PM

This is the saddest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

The weak and infirm are enemies of the state.

Damn Florida CPS to Hell for this.

portlandon on December 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

THis isn’t Schiavo-rific.

That case was about the legal recognition of TS’s own wishes and with a determination that she was in a permanent vegrtative state.

Marie was disabled but fully conscious and aware, could communicate (though she was non-verbal), and there was no dispute about her own wish to end interventions in a specific state of irreversible unawareness that is a feature of Florida law.

Apples and organges.

The real question is why home care was denied. Nursing home care is NOT cheaper, assuming long-term survival, than home care and can separates the patient from the persons most interested in their well-being.

There is no dispute that the mother was loving, had cared for her daughter well, but could not do so adequately alone because of her own disabilities.

The child’s disability payments seem to be as much a part of this as her need for care. The state wished to direct all the funds to a nursing home, though in this case there was no home near the mother, and no home at all designed to care for this child, who would take her.

She did not belong in a hospital setting where the state had placed her.

There was pressure from the hospital on the state to remove the child at once. I do not understand why the move was permitted. There was a standing order to remove the child to her home.

The hospital violated care standards in many ways, and the transport service used, not allowed to provide medical services or medication.
The trip was too long and put the child not only in emotional distress and physical pain, but at risk of a seizure that could kill her.

Why did Angelina Attila argue so forcefully that the child was better off in a nursing home, that only there that the child would receive the care she needed in the appropriate setting. WHY? It’s precisely the worse setting, and there was testimony that such children do far worse in a nursing home setting, let alone one so detached from loved ones and requiring a traumatic move and medical neglect to achieve.

WHY.

Angelina Attila will no answer any queries about the case, her motives, or her arguments.

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I believe that the day is not very far away when a group of people are going to come together and create a new Star Chamber and begin exacting revenge against individuals responsible for state sanctioned murder.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on December 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

They told me that if I voted for Mitt Romney the sick would die.

They were right.

John_Locke on December 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM

…The girl was removed from her mother’s care. From there she was removed to state custody and placed in a hospital.
Despite orders to return the girl to home care with expanded services,
the hospital began to insist the girl be moved.

Medicaid (as administrated through AHCA) reviewed the case and again refused to provide the nursing care services ordered by Corvo.

Eventually there was a return to court and another hearing about moving the girl, because the only placement was far away in a facility not designed for her care.

The move to the nursing home went ahead at the insistence of an agent of the hospital…

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:32 PM

WTF? The only placement was far away in a facility not designed for her care? Then what made them think the placement was good (or even adequate) for her healthcare?

Mitoch55 on December 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Nursing home care is not safer, better, cheaper.

The state, through Angelina Attila, kept insisting it was the optimal and only solution.

I’s like to know how she feels about her arguments now.

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 1:49 PM

We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

The Rogue Tomato on December 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

People who have seniors that must go into nursing homes, often have to fight to get a placement anywhere near relatives. It’s usually based on first opening available.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Sadly we know how this will end:

Someone will take the fall and receive a suspension.

The office will receive “training” and the department will “review their procedures”.

They’ll admit no formal wrongdoing and maybe the family will get a small amount of money.

Repeat again next time another person dies due to their negligence.

nextgen_repub on December 6, 2012 at 1:56 PM

We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

The Rogue Tomato on December 6, 2012 at 1:52 PM

One of the scariest things you can ever hear.

nextgen_repub on December 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

What a tragic story. Why are we hearing about it now when it happened a year and half ago?

JPeterman on December 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM

We have options, but they are rapidly growing fewer being reduced to ones involving flame, tar, gunpowder and lead by the week.

TKindred on December 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

FIFY

There. I said it. The G@d damned Holocaust.

teacherman on December 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Don’t worry about Godwining yourself – this government has long passed the point where you’re the first one to think it/bring it up.

GWB on December 6, 2012 at 2:00 PM

“They just loaded them on trains… I didn’t know where they were going.”

Marcola on December 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

A common question when studying WW2 is “How could they have allowed this to happen?” My answer to those who voted for Obama is “Sie sind Sie.” (“They are you.”)

GWB on December 6, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I’d like to think this story couldn’t happen in TX; I think you would have heard about some very frightened social workers running from a Texan with a rifle, rather than abducting a child.

John_Locke on December 6, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Home care isn’t cheaper when the patient dies, Ed.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

That’s so cynical that even I didn’t think of it.

besser tot als rot on December 6, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Why exactly do states have the power to do this? Explain the public good that taking any child from their parents accomplishes?

While it might save a few children from bad parents, what it does overall is far more heinous. It destroys the absolute and necessary power of the parent to raise their children according to their culture and morals.

astonerii on December 6, 2012 at 2:05 PM

besser tot als rot on December 6, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Sorry, that’s where I am right now. I’m probably going to disappoint a lot of people before I get “better”.

Cindy Munford on December 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Jpetermen – one reason this particular story is timely, as it was a contribution to the action and an example of the failing system:

Civil rights lawyers are asking the state to allow a federal judge to oversee Florida’s Medicaid program, which insures needy and disabled people. The program will pay as much as $506 a day — twice the rate for frail elders — to put a child like Marie in a nursing home, but refuses to cover lesser or similar amounts for in-home care.

Late Friday, state health regulators wrote their final letter to the Justice Department in response to a deadline. The state, they wrote, “is not in violation of any federal law” governing the medical care delivered to needy Floridians, and cannot “agree to the demand …that a federal court take over the management of Florida’s Medicaid service-delivery system.”

The nursing home industry has insisted that some children are so disabled or medically complex that their needs can best be met in a nursing home.

However, court records filed last week suggest children fare worse in nursing homes than in community settings.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/12/03/176194/in-florida-a-little-girls-death.html#storylink=cpy

SarahW on December 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

John_Locke on December 6, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Followed by the entire family dying a horrible state sponsored death.

astonerii on December 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM

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