Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) has taken custody of a child away from her parents because the parents were treating her for PANDAS (Pediatric AutoImmune NeuroPsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep) under the direction of two New York physicians. BCH decided that the parents were harming their child with these treatments (even though it was under the direction of two New York Physicians), and have the child locked up in a psych ward doped up on psych meds. The child's name is Elizabeth Wray. She, and her parents, are suffering greatly at the hands of Boston Children's Hospital. SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Read this letter from an advocate who is working with them. At the bottom, you'll see some contact info for various people at BCH whom you can call and tell them to get off their high horse and let this child go home with her parents.
Things are not good with Elizabeth. She remains at Boston Children's Hospital. BCH still refuses to recognize that its "treatment" is a complete failure. She continues to decline. She can no longer walk. She barely speaks. Earlier this evening, I listened to her screaming and wailing in the background from her bed as her brokenhearted father tried to bring me up to date.
There will be a piece in the Boston Globe Magazine about PANDAS within the next three weeks. They contacted me directly as a result of your efforts...someone posted or blogged regarding my earlier emails and that is how the Globe found the story and me. Based on my interview today, which lasted for over an hour, I expect this situation will receive a great deal of attention. Keep posting. Keep blogging. It makes a difference.
I want to be 100% clear that these parents did NOTHING wrong. They took the exact same steps that you or I would have taken to help our children. This could have happened to any one of us. They are living every parent's nightmare...losing custody of their child for trying to do the right thing. And these parents need your help.
The Wrays have given me written permission to share the following information with all of you and the media.
Briefly, Elizabeth was diagnosed with PANDAS by two doctors in NY February 2012. It first showed up as trouble eating. Blood work showed mycoplasma and Lyme. With antibiotic treatment she improved and did well over the summer. But she took a dive in early September. Her parents took her to a hospital near them, but the hospital felt she needed more than it could offer. There were two possibilities suggested: Rochester and Boston Children's. The parents wanted her to go to the first place that had a bed; that was at Boston Children's so she went there. BCH immediately decided that Elizabeth's issues were all psychiatric and not medical, not PANDAS. They have refused to introduce antibiotics. And although she was on a gluten & dairy free diet, BCH immediately introduced both. She has had a spinal tap, EKG, EEG, MRI and many, many other tests. The parents were never given any test results. They were told there were "irregularities" in some tests, but they have not been informed what those irregularities are so they still have no idea. Last Thursday and Friday, the hospital told Jay that Elizabeth was cleared to transfer. He was actively working with Dr. Geller, Dr. Jenike, the OCD Foundation and Rogers Hospital to figure out where would be best for Elizabeth to go. As far as Jay knew, BCH was on board and helping him figure this out. Then on Monday evening at about 5:30 pm he was told to be at Court the next morning when the State would attempt to take custody based on allegations made by BCH. We were in Court Tuesday morning.
The State has been placed in charge of Elizabeth’s care (because it has custody), but the Judge specifically instructed that she may not be moved to the hospital's locked psych unit. I do not fault the Judge for his decision on temporary custody. It's hard to explain in a few sentences... but when a Judge is confronted with the kind of accusations that were leveled against the Wrays, it would have been very difficult for him to simply dismiss the petition (although I tried to get him to do that). He heard me though, and he protected her as much as he felt that he could - given the circumstances - by specifying that she should not be moved pending his final decision. We are scheduled to go back to court on October 23rd. Her parents are in agony knowing that she may suffer for another three weeks at BCH.
Below is the list of the names I was given by the State of those at BCH who spoke with Child Protective Services about having the State of Massachusetts take custody of Elizabeth away from her parents. I have provided as much contact information as possible. Call them. Email them. Make them understand that there are thousands of parents standing behind the Wrays. You may want to begin by sending to this email which is a general for the hospital but I want you to do morehttp://childrenshospital.org/email.cfm?s=1394&c=7&u=webteam
I want you to call the hospital and ask for these people. I want you to leave voicemails if you don't reach them. They need to know that this movement is only going to grow. Will you do that for us? The general number at the hospital is 617-355-6000. I want the switchboard jammed. Begin every call with “I’m calling about Elizabeth Wray. Please connect me to ...” I want your voices to be so strong and so many that - maybe - then they’ll begin to get it. I want them to know that parents are not longer going to bring their children to BCH. And I want them to know that they cannot hide behind the cloak of the State.
As far as emails, from the few that I know it appears that the pattern is email@example.com
Here are the specific people I was told that the State spoke with: Dr. Othman Mohammad Dr. Simona Bigourno Dr. Gary Gosselin firstname.lastname@example.org fax 617-730-0917 Dr. Lydia Shrier 617-355-7181 Elizabeth Holleran, child abuse social worker Deb Sorentino, child protection team Ellen Rothstein, Esq. Associate General Counsel Ellen.Rothstein@childrens.harvard.edu
Others to contact would be: James Mandell, Chief Executive Officer Sandra Fenwick, President & Chief Operating Officer Stuart Novick, General Counsel 617-355-4937 Stuart.Novick@childrens.harvard.edu
Many of you have asked if you can help with a donation. Jay wants to be clear that he is, "not the type to ask for money," but if you want to help he will gratefully accept. He is the family breadwinner and is presently on medical leave from his job where he has worked for the same employer in customer service for fifteen years. His family home is more than five hours from Boston. His family has living expenses in Boston, a huge liability for all the "co-pays" that will be charged for hospital stay, legal fees, expenses at home to manage, and no end in sight. He asks that checks be made to “Beth Maloney Esq. Trust Account” and indicate "for Elizabeth Wray" on the check. The mailing address is Beth Maloney, Esq., P.O. Box 468, Kennebunkport, ME 04046