Protest at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene
On September 11, 2019, over 85 different concerned citizens came to Kootenai Health to publicly protest the policies and practices of Kootenai Health wherein they have frequently been coercing parents into accepting the advised medical treatment of their children under the threat that if they do not, Child Protective Services will be called. Then, when the parents, out of fear, accept the treatments, Kootenai Health still frequently has called CPS, so that when the parents take their children home, they get a visit from a CPS social worker, and usually, also uniformed police officers.
These social workers and police officers have then wanted to inspect the homes of the parents and observe and interview all of the children in the home. Of course, this is always done without a warrant, and consent of the parents to enter the home and interview children is frequently obtained under duress.
Kootenai Health has claimed that their hands are tied by Idaho Code, and that they must contact CPS every single time there is the possibility of medical neglect. But, medical neglect is not clearly defined in statute, and COMMON SENSE dictates that simply having questions about a treatment, wanting a second, independent opinion, wanting to wait for test results, and wanting to explore alternatives does not constitute neglect. There are a number of hospitals in Idaho working with the same statutes that are not frequently threatening the parents of their patients with CPS, so the statutes are hardly the problem. The problem appears to be a disregard for building trust in the doctor/patient/parent relationship and instead frequently resorting to coercion, extortion and bullying, which actually destroys, rather than builds trust.
Also, there is the totality of Idaho Code, which includes the following statutes passed in 2015: What the statutes ALSO say:
32-1010. INTENT OF THE LEGISLATURE — PARENTAL RIGHTS. (1) The interests and role of parents in the care, custody and control of their children are both implicit in the concept of ordered liberty and deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition. They are also among the unalienable rights retained by the people under the ninth amendment to the constitution of the United States.
32-1011. PARENTAL RIGHT TO THE CARE, CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF CHILDREN. Parents who have legal custody of any minor child or children have the fundamental right to make decisions concerning their care, custody and control.
So, when parents and children from the Coeur d’Alene area took time out of their busy schedule to send a message to Kootenai Health on September 11th, 2019, perhaps Kootenai Health could take to heart what were the demands of these concerned parents:
- Kootenai Health IS using coercion of parents, threatening to call CPS, to get parents to keep their children in the hospital longer and accept treatments that may not be necessary for the health and welfare of the child.
- Kootenai Health is using a limited view of Idaho Code to justify their threats and their calls to Child Protective Services even for parents that completely comply with the treatment recommendations.
- Kootenai Health is not fostering a relationship of trust with the parents in the community. they should be operating from a position that trust must be earned and not extorted.
Child Protective Services should only be necessary for criminal abuse and neglect. Kootenai Health is using the threat of CPS simply because parents don’t immediately go along with the hospital’s recommendations for care of a child. While years ago, CPS was rarely called by the hospital, Kootenai Health now routinely threatens to contact CPS even if a parent is only asking questions. We call this “weaponizing CPS”.
Listen to examples of the coercion in this interview with Coeur d’Alene area midwife Sarah Dunn who details the change over the years to the increasing use of threats, coercion and fear tactics to get parents to comply with Kootenai Health’s suggested care:
Kootenai Health preempted the protest with an email to their employees in which they claimed that the “protesters” have a history of “videotaping interactions and misrepresenting them to advance their opinions”. See the Kootenai Health email to their employees below and decide for yourself if they seem interested in healing the relationship of trust with these concerned parents, many of whom have had a personal and terrifying experience at Kootenai Health on the very subject of the protest.
Scott Herndon is the Director at IdahoCPS.org and a contributor at Redoubt News.
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