A Texas couple is fighting to get their two-week-old daughter returned to them after social services removed the baby because the parents refused to have the infant treated at a hospital for jaundice.
Temecia and Rodney Jackson says that when officials showed up at their home in Desoto, Texas, to take their child, the paperwork named the baby’s mother as another woman, who has a criminal record.
The documents referred to Rodney Jackson as baby Mila’s ‘alleged father.’
The Jacksons welcomed six pound and nine ounce Mila on March 21. The little girl was born at their home in Desoto, a suburb of Dallas, with a midwife present.
They took Mila for a routine appointment at a local hospital when she was three days old, and were seen by a nurse working with pediatrician Dr Anand Bhatt. The Jacksons say that they were told their daughter was healthy, and were discharged.
Temecia Jackson is seen at home in Desoto, Texas, with baby Mila, who was born on March 21
Mila was born at home, with the supervision of Cheryl Edinbyrd, a certified professional midwife
Newborn Mila suffered from jaundice – a common condition, affecting 60 percent of all babies
They soon became concerned she had jaundice, and took her to the hospital on March 27.
‘While at the pediatrician we were told the levels are high and they will test blood, and follow up,’ Temecia told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
‘They followed up and said we need to admit baby into the hospital for light therapy immediately.’
The Jacksons said they wanted to do the therapy at home because they did not want their baby admitted to the hospital.
‘We followed up to let him know we will complete light care independently at home,’ she said.
Infant jaundice occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells. The condition is common: about 60 percent of all babies have jaundice, according to the CDC.
Yet Dr Bhatt – who Temecia Jackson says did not see the baby, with his nurse practitioner checking the newborn instead – was adamant that Mila needed in-hospital care, after he deemed her levels of bilirubin dangerous.
Temecia and Rodney Jackson are seen on Thursday at a press conference begging for the return of their newborn daughter
Dr Anand Bhatt, a pediatrician, said that the newborn had jaundice to a dangerous level, and needed hospital treatment: the parents insisted she could be treated at home
Newborn baby Mila, who was delivered at home in the Dallas suburbs
On March 28 social services arrived at the Jackson’s home and took Mila away.
Dr Bhatt, in his letter recommending the newborn be taken from the parents, said Mila had dangerously high levels of bilirubin, which can lead to brain damage.
Mila’s bilirubin level was 21.7, according to the letter obtained by WFAA.
Dr Bhatt wrote that ‘at a bilirubin over 20, a baby risks brain damage, because the bilirubin can cross the blood brain barrier.’
He said he tried repeatedly to contact the parents, but when that failed, called Child Protection Services and said the baby needed urgent medical care.
‘I filed a case report with CPS after trying 10 attempts to appeal to the family through phone calls, text messages and leaving voicemails as they did not pick up the phone,’ he wrote.
‘Parents are very loving and they care dearly about their baby.
‘Their distrust for medical care and guidance has led them to make a decision for the baby to refuse a simple treatment that can prevent brain damage.
‘I authorized the support of CPS to help get this baby the care that was medically necessary and needed.’
The CPS agreed, and in its own letter stated: ‘Due to the parents being unwilling to discuss the danger and potential consequences of this condition, it is necessary for the Department to intervene.’
The CPS letter listed concerns of ‘possible stroke, brain damage, or other immediate dangers to child.’
The Jacksons discovered, on reading the paperwork, that the mother was listed as another woman, who had a criminal history.
Rodney Jackson was described as the ‘alleged father’.
‘Unlawfully, entered my home to take my baby from me,’ she said on Thursday, at a news conference held at the Afiya Center in Dallas.
‘Instantly, I felt like they had stolen my baby as I had had a home birth, and they were trying to say my baby belonged to this other woman.’
The Jacksons said they have been ‘treated like criminals’
Cheryl Edinbyrd, the certified professional midwife who attended to Mila’s birth
Her husband added: ‘We’ve been treated like criminals – and that’s far from the truth.
‘This is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.’
The Jacksons have since visited their baby in the hospital and are expected in court April 20.
Gary Gates, a state representative, is campaigning to have Mila returned to her parents.
He said it was ‘horrible; that the newborn should be kept from her mother during the vital first few weeks.
‘You mean nothing’s going to be done for another couple of weeks?’ he said.
‘I mean, this child will be more than a month old, and it’s been totally denied from bonding with its mother.’
He also noted the errors on the paperwork.
‘And if this is a false affidavit, you know, that’s criminal,’ Gates said.
‘You know, you can’t file a false affidavit because you’re swearing under oath that every single line of that affidavit is correct.’
Cheryl Edinbyrd, the certified professional midwife who attended to Mila’s birth, said: ‘CPS has enough to do out here for kids that are really getting beat and abused. This child was being nurtured. This child was being supported. And this child was being loved. And this child was kidnapped.’
She added: ‘We are demanding that Mila be returned home today. Today. Because yesterday was too late.’