Commentary by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
The phrase “with liberty and justice for all” is the cornerstone of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. This principle is the very foundation upon which our nation was founded, for which men and women have fought and died.
This noble and lofty theme is written in our anthems, on our statues, and in our hearts.
It is the very essence of who we are supposed to be as a nation that stands as a shining light among the nations, inspiring sacrifice and dedication throughout the generations to ensure that “liberty and justice for all” remains the bedrock of society for future generations to enjoy.
Where there is injustice, or when some “are more equal than others” (George Orwell, Animal Farm), ordinary people rise up and push back.
Our history is full of examples of heroes that we look up to for their courage and leadership in standing up for liberty and justice for all, against those who seek to relegate those beloved principles to a select few. Our favorite movies and books are inspired by this theme.
“Better that a guilty man go free than an innocent man be convicted” is a cherished American doctrine espoused by the Founding Fathers and passed down into the foundation of the justice system.
Yet there is an element of United States society that routinely refuses to embrace this concept, and their devastating reach has the potential to impact every family within our borders: that is, the child welfare and family court system.
Many of their policies which lead to families being torn apart trace directly to a group of doctors known as Child Abuse Pediatricians.
They author policies and position statements for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which are enforced by Children’s Hospitals, pediatricians, and child protective agencies.
We have covered the topic of Child Abuse Pediatricians often, which is a specialty that must find child abuse to justify its existence as a medical specialty.
To learn more about this specialty see:
The AAP does not represent all pediatricians and doctors, despite public perception, and there are very qualified, excellent doctors who disagree with some of these policies.
A recent 2-part Special Report by 25 News in Peoria, Illinois, (Link to Part 1  and Part 2 ) examines this issue of innocent parents, who are falsely accused by doctors, whose children are medically kidnapped.
Reporter Tyler Lopez  asks the question that Health Impact News has been asking even before our Medical Kidnap division was established in 2014:
But what if some of those abuse cases were misdiagnosed or the result of a medical condition?
When that happens, there is often no liberty or justice for these families.
Innocent Families Are “Collateral Damage”
Michelle Weidner, executive director of the Family Justice Resource Center , was one of numerous victims of a false allegation by a Child Abuse Pediatrician. She cuts to the heart of the matter in Part 2:
Wrongful allegations are often considered collateral damage in the fight against child abuse. And it’s often not taking into consideration the impact that wrongful allegations have on families.
Her baby was taken because Child Abuse Pediatrician Dr. Channing Petrak  at OSC St. Francis misread a CT scan and accused the parents of abuse:
“When they did the CT scan he moved in the machine, which resulted in a blurred line, and that blurred line was misdiagnosed as a skull fracture,” Weidner explains.
Unfortunately, the Weidners wouldn’t learn there was a problem with the scan till much later. Instead, in that moment, they found themselves accused.
“And the child abuse pediatrician told investigators that there was no other explanation than blunt force trauma,” Weidner adds.
In one of our earliest Medical Kidnap stories, a Child Abuse Pediatrician compared parents Bethany and Andrew Debski to dolphins caught in a net. Like hundreds of families whose stories we have covered since then, they too were collateral damage:
A child abuse doctor at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, actually thanked them for “taking a hard hit for the greater good” of catching abused and neglected children. They were innocent.
Baby Chandler’s Story
The 25 News report starts with the story of Baby Chandler, a story that follows the template of dozens of other stories that we have covered involving a child with broken bones who actually had a medical condition causing his bone fragility.
Dr. Channing Petrak, Child Abuse Pediatrician, accused the parents of abuse, and he was taken from his mother by Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
According to Part 1 :
Chandler was born premature with a host of health problems, including a hole in his lung. He spent the first week of his life at the hospital. After he was released, his parents, Tara and Michael Crady, said they noticed one of his ankles felt strange, and brought it up to their pediatrician.
“The next morning we got a phone call saying, ‘You know, were you in a car accident? Was there some sort of trauma during pregnancy?’ And I said, ‘No. I said why?’ They said, ‘Well, it’s a healed fracture and it would date back to in utero,” Tara explained.
From there it was back to OSF St. Francis Medical Center for more testing. But, what was supposed to be a routine follow up X-ray quickly escalated as the Cradys were told Chandler had 14 healed fractures, including 12 along his ribs.
The hospital called DCFS.
The Cradys say they were forced to stay at OSF under constant supervision for the next week while DCFS called in a Child Abuse Pediatrician, Dr. Channing Petrak, the Medical Director of the Pediatric Resource Center.
In her report provided by the family, Dr. Petrak ruled the fractures and other injuries were “suspicious of abuse.”
Specialist in Radiology, Dr. Ayoub, Disagreed with Child Abuse Doctor
Fortunately, Tara Crady remembered reading about a similar story a few years ago in the news, and she was able to find the mother on Facebook. Dr. Petrack was also behind Michelle Weidner’s false allegation of abuse. Part 1  continues:
“While we were in the hospital I contacted Michelle Weidner and she got me in contact with this radiologist out of Springfield and by the grace of God he met us at like 6:30 that night at the hospital.”
That doctor was David Ayoub, M.D., a radiologist who specializes in these types of cases.
“There’s no question in my mind that they were abnormal bones, bones that showed fragility,” Ayoub declared.
From Chandler’s X-rays and interviews with the family, Dr. Ayoub determined Chandler had metabolic bone disease, possibly infantile rickets, and said the healed fractures that appeared on the x-rays dated back to in utero and/or the birthing process.
Healing Rib Fractures Happened in the Womb
Many Medical Kidnap stories that we have covered involve babies who are discovered to have “multiple rib fractures in various stages of healing.” (See link  to such stories.)
That particular phrase is in the medical reports of just about every story that we have investigated involving children with broken bones whose parents were accused of child abuse but were found by experts (other than Child Abuse doctors who really are not experts in anything ) to have legitimate medical conditions, such as infantile rickets, osteogenesis imperfecta, collagen disorders such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, or other brittle bones condition.
25 News  continues in Part 1:
“In utero fractures I’ve seen reported. They’re not unheard of, but they are exceptionally rare.” Ayoub began. “Now, Chandler had x-rays at birth which is a little bit unusual. Why? Because he had a long injury at birth, which is one of the first clues that his ribs might’ve been injured at birth. If the ribs are weak at birth and the child passes through the birth canal what happens is those ribs don’t hold up so they are pushed into the one tissue with much greater force than they would otherwise,” Ayoub further explained, demonstrating the squeezing motion with both hands.
Dr. Ayoub said that would account for the punctured lung Chandler was born with. He also said that while Dr. Petrak’s report might have stated they ruled out rickets or metabolic bone disease, that was because the tests they conducted in the hospital, measuring the boy’s Vitamin D levels (an indicator in those cases,) were done at the time the injuries were discovered, not when the injuries would have occurred, adding that Vitamin D levels could change drastically for a developing child in that time.
“In infancy, it’s not like any other time in life. The vitamin D levels change and change dramatically within the first three months of life. The baby will be born with typically 60% to 70% of the mother’s levels and will double very quickly, in fact by 2 to 3 months those levels double,” Ayoub shared.
With that theory in mind, Ayoub said Tara’s levels of Vitamin D were measured and found to be 21.8, emaning Chandler’s on average would have been around 14, which was considered low. Ayoub noted this and other findings that he felt explained the injuries discovered in a report the family sent to a judge before their first Shelter Care Hearing.
Including Ayoub, the Cradys ending up seeking out a total of 8 medical expert from all over the country, all specializing in unique cases like there. Among the group of Ivy League, board Certified specialists, was a Boston University Endocrinologist, Dr. Michael Holick. Holick not only agreed with Ayoub’s findings, he also testified in a report submitted to the court that Chandler likely had a collagen disorder called Ehlers-danlos syndrome. Holick said that would be enough to “markedly increase the risk for fragility fractures with normal handling.”
The Cradys eventually got their son back, but not before their family was unnecessarily traumatized by the actions of the Child Abuse Pediatrician Dr. Petrak and DCFS.
Innocent Father Went to Prison over False Diagnosis of Abuse by Petrak
Part 2  of the 25 News Special Report includes the story of an innocent dad who not only lost time with his children, but also spent 2 years in prison for a crime that didn’t happen, based on the testimony of a Child Abuse Pediatrician.
His 3-month-old daughter “start[ed] gasping for breath in her crib” while the 19-year-old father was watching TV.
“I just didn’t know what to do, she was lifeless, she was still gasping, breathing very weird. I called her mother and I called 911 and they walked me through CPR which is probably the scariest thing ever did in my life,” Britts recalls.
The little girl was taken to a nearby hospital before being transported to OSF in Peoria, where doctors determined she had bleeding on the brain, and Britts says that prompted Dr. Petrak to conclude Saniya had been either shaken or hit.
Britts says he protested and told staff seizures ran in his family. Ultimately, though, he was arrested and taken to the Sangamon County Jail after he claims he was coerced into a confession without an attorney present.
“I didn’t know what was happening. I was 19 and they’re just telling me everything that I did was inaccurate. I couldn’t answer their questions,” Britts began, adding that in the end he felt worn down by the interrogations. He claims in an attempt to bring things to an end, he finally admitted if they thought he did something he must have, even though he didn’t know what that “something” was, not fully realizing that would be interpreted as a confession.
Britts spent more than 2 years in jail awaiting trial, where he was eventually found not guilty after a medical expert from out-of-state testified Saniya did, in fact, suffer from a seizure disorder. Since then he says he’s rebuilt his life, and enjoys time with Saniya, who made a full recovery, and her three sisters.
Still, he says nothing can replace the time that was taken from him.
“That’s 2 1/2 years I’ll never get back I had to reestablish the relationships with my children. Man, I lost a lot. I lost my home, I lost two jobs, I lost my marriage, my father passed when I was there,” he laments.
Organization Helps Families Fight Against False Allegations of Abuse
The Family Justice Resource Center (FJRC) was founded in Illinois to help families such as these. Chicago area attorney Diane Redleaf is on the organization’s board, and she has written extensively on the subject of ethical concerns with Child Protective Services and Child Abuse Pediatricians.
According to 25 News :
She’s written a just-published book on the subject, profiling six families, “They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families At Risk.” [Source] .
“The stories are all cases of families where the child welfare system came in and literally took the kids one night,” Redleaf explains.
Redleaf estimates she’s worked on anywhere from 70 to 100 cases involving families whose children allegedly had medical conditions that were mistaken for abuse.
“I believe any family could be subject to something like this and people need to basically have a wake-up call that this is occurring,” she emphatically states.
Dr. Ayoub is a medical specialist in radiology who is well-qualified as an expert in bone conditions.
Many families whose stories we have covered have looked to him for answers when the Child Abuse Pediatricians with the focus of finding abuse have accused them when they knew there had to be another answer. (See link ).
Dr. Ayoub is one of the experts that FJRC consults. He told 25 News :
“I think when you look at the specialty of child abuse pediatrics you are geared up to protect children in harm’s way. So one of the first things you see, in other words, if you’re a nail everything is a hammer or vice versa. And there’s a specialty bias that we all have,” explained Dr. David Ayoub, MD.
Dr. Ayoub says he’s studied metabolic bone disease, rickets, and vitamin D deficiencies extensively and believes those conditions can often mimic abuse. As a result, he testifies in cases all over the country.
True Justice and One-Sided Child Abuse Doctor Opinions Incompatible Concepts
If we are to hope to secure true justice for families, including the basic liberty of parents and children to be in relationship with one another, courts and agencies must stop looking to Child Abuse Pediatricians as the ultimate authority on what constitutes abuse.
They have a financial stake in ruling abuse, even if their is none.
They simply get it wrong in too many cases, devastating innocent families, even sending innocent parents to prison and their children into foster care situations where there they often encounter true abuse that they never experienced in their own home.
There is no consensus among true experts that the conclusions reached by Child Abuse Pediatricians are accurate, while there are many cases where truly qualified medical experts find legitimate medical conditions that mimic abuse in these children.
Justice demands that the other side of the story is heard and taken seriously, not ignored, as so often happens in juvenile and family courts today.
Comment on this article at MedicalKidnap.com .
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