Posted: July 12th, 2007 by Militant Libertarian
The nightmare started when nine-year-old Tevania Tranberg fainted momentarily for no apparent reason when she and her family were at a Trader Joe’s store near their Brookline, Massachusetts apartment. The father, Steven Bennett, went with Tevania in an ambulance to nearby Children’s Hospital to get her emergency care, and hopefully discover the source of her brief collapse. They were joined shortly by the mother, Heidi Tranberg, and Tevania’s four siblings, including 12-day-old Evanna.
At around 10:00 at night, after seven hours in the hospital and many tests, they discovered that Tevania had a low calcium condition. A resident also did some neurological tests and suggested that the situation was not that serious.
Another resident, Catherine James, M.D., then told the family not to listen to the first resident. Not knowing which doctor to believe, the parents asked for a second opinion. Big mistake. Dr. James snapped that she was going to get a restraining order and turned on her heels to go see the legal department. She returned and explained that her request was denied, and the family asked if they could go. At the family’s request, Dr. James prepared a discharge summary, in which she told the parents to get the child to her pediatrician within 48 hours and to watch for any further signs of problems. They took the paper, waited for a ride for half an hour, and left the hospital about 11:30 p.m. that night.
Unbeknownst to the parents, Dr. James called the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS) immediately after they left. DSS told the police and the court that the parents had “fled the hospital,” based on Dr. James’ report, even though she had told them that they were free to leave. Dr. James later admitted to the court investigator that she had never said the parents “fled” the hospital and that “DSS was wrong.”
The next day, the father immediately obtained an appointment with their pediatrician, and both parents were attentive to Tevania’s condition. Thirty-six hours after they left the hospital, several carloads of armed police removed the children to the police station, where half a dozen DSS agents took them, without a warrant or an explanation. Later, the police log showed that DSS had lied to the police by claiming that there had been “injuries from child abuse,” as well as sexual abuse to the children. There was no mention of low calcium, since that might not have seemed quite as urgent.
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