Temecia and Rodney Jackson, two parents based in Dallas, Texas, are pleading with Child Protective Services (CPS) to return their newborn daughter after she was taken away following a dispute over the proper care for jaundice.
The distraught couple believes their precious daughter Mila Jackson was taken away due to a case of mistaken identity. Officials from protective services issued a warrant using the criminal history of an unidentified woman to justify the decision.
The Jacksons detailed the harrowing incident at a press conference in Dallas April 6. After settling on an at home birth, the couple decided to hire licensed midwife Cheryl Edinbyrd to assist with their delivery. At 5:28 a.m., their daughter, Mila Jackson arrived, weighing in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces.
Three days later, the Jacksons took the baby to see a pediatrician for a routine checkup. Initially, Mila was given a clean bill of health from doctors. But later on in the evening, Temecia said she received several messages from her pediatrician stating that the child had jaundice.
Infant jaundice is a common condition, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks. It typically occurs when a baby’s blood level contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells, which can cause yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes.
In court documents obtained by WFAA, the pediatrician, identified as Dr. Anand Bhatt, said Mila had “dangerously high levels of bilirubin” and needed medical treatment. He recommended that the couple bring Mila in for care and suggested treatment options, but Temecia politely declined and informed the doctor that she and her husband were going to treat Mila at home with the help of their midwife.
Dr. Bhatt called CPS on the couple
Things took an ugly turn when Dr. Bhatt threatened to call CPS on the couple. At 4 a.m., the Jackson’s were woken up out of their sleep when CPS and several police officers swarmed the house, demanding for the couple to hand Mila over. The officers left after the scared parents refused to let their newborn go. They argued that the police had no jurisdiction. Authorities eventually left, only to return hours later, demanding for the couple to hand over the child, again.
“Our midwife then reached out to the pediatrician, just letting him know that he had traumatized us, that we were woken up by police banging our door at 4 a.m., 5 a.m. Then after she gave him all the credentials he’d requested from her, he pretty much said he was going to leave our care and our midwife teams,” Temecia said.
After the ordeal, everything seemed normal. The couple went on living their lives until police showed up at their doorstep again, March 28. Rodney was walking the family’s dog when officials from the Desoto Police Department demanded for him to hand over Mila. He refused and authorities quickly put him in handcuffs. The officers took his key, entered the home and took Mila away from Temecia.
But after they left, Temecia said she noticed that the warrant had another mother’s name on it.
“It was DCC CPS versus another mother, which I won’t say her name, but it was not my name. And so instantly I felt like they had stolen my baby as I had had a home birth,” she told reporters at the press conference Thursday, struggling to hold back tears.” And they are trying to say that my baby belonged to this other woman. There was no contact information for me. I did not know where to turn. They had taken my husband from me and then took my daughter from me and I was left by myself. I immediately went to the police station and said that my daughter was stolen and I need help.”
The unidentified woman has a history with CPS, according to Temecia.
The Jacksons worry that their daughter is not being cared for properly
Mila is currently being cared for by a foster family. The Jacksons have only been allowed to have a few supervised visits with their daughter at CPS offices. The couple even attempted to give Mila fresh breast milk on several visits, but they were shut down.
During their last visit, April 5, Temecia and Rodney noticed irritation around their daughter’s genitals. When they raised their concern to CPS, they were told that the foster family would seek treatment for Mila. The couple worries that their child may not be receiving the proper care.
“With the foster parents is where this build-up and irritation [in Mila’s genitals] occurred, yet you’re sending her back to the same foster family. We just feel helpless in this situation as we wait,” Temecia said.
On April 6, a hearing was scheduled for the parents to get their daughter back, but the court session was canceled, Jezelbel reported. Temecia and Rodney’s hearing has been postponed to April 20.
In a statement to WFAA, Dr. Anand Bhatt did not comment on the incident.
“In respect of patient privacy, it is inappropriate to provide comment on this matter. We do abide by reporting requirements set forth in the Texas Family Code and any other applicable laws,” the statement read.
In Bhatt’s letter to CPS, he claimed he reported the Jacksons “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.”
“Parents are very loving and they care dearly about their baby,” the doctor continued. “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,” he added.
CPS wrote a follow-up letter agreeing to take custody of young Mila. They listed concerns of “possible stroke, brain damage, or other immediate dangers,” WFAA noted.
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