ER Doctor Loses Custody Of Daughter Because She's Exposed To Coronavirus At Work
Miami, FL – An emergency room doctor temporarily lost custody of her four year old because a she is exposed to coronavirus patients during the course of her work.
Despite taking all the proper precautions at the hospital and at home, Dr. Theresa Greene temporarily lost custody of her four-year-old daughter to her ex-husband, Eric Greene, on April 9, according to People.
The couple previously shared joint custody and split their daughter’s time between their homes, CNN reported.
But then Eric Greene took Dr. Greene to court after the pandemic began and alleged that his ex-wife’s profession as an emergency room physician placed their daughter at risk.
Circuit Court Judge Bernard Shapiro agreed and granted temporary full custody to the child’s father, CNN reported.
“The Court does not enter this Order lightly but given the pandemic in Florida and the recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Court finds in order to insulate and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this Order must be entered on a temporary basis,” Shapiro wrote in his ruling.
Dr. Green said she has been wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) while treating patients and doing everything possible to protect herself and her loved ones, CNN reported.
“Yes it is severe and there is danger, and we’re being very careful,” she said. “We use everything we can. I’ve actually worn equipment above and beyond to protect myself and my child.”
The doctor said it was unfair to ask her to choose between her daughter and her patients during a worldwide pandemic, CNN reported.
“I think it’s not fair, it’s cruel to ask me to choose between my child and the oath I took as a physician,” Dr. Greene said. “I won’t abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it’s torture.”
She said her little girl doesn’t understand what’s going on and the mother is afraid that her daughter thinks she has deserted her, according to People.
“I just fear that she’s going to think I abandoned her,” Dr. Greene said. “And that’s really, really hard for me.”
“I want her when she grows up to be proud of me by abiding to the oath that I took when I went into medicine, but I also know that she needs me now,” she told CNN.
Dr. Green said she thinks she was discriminated against, according to CNN.
“If I was married I’d be given the opportunity to go home to my child, no one could tell me I shouldn’t do that,” she said.
The doctor pointed out the inherent disparity in the way she is being treated as a health care professional who is a single parent, People reported.
“Most of my coworkers have children that they go home to,” Dr. Greene said. “No one is calling CPS on them and saying, ‘you’re exposing your child to a deadly illness.' No one is actually acting to protect the children of people who are married, and no one is asking them to sacrifice their jobs.”
Steven Nullman, Dr. Greene’s attorney, told People that the “court made the ruling without taking any evidence or hearing from anybody who is qualified to give an opinion to the court as to whether or not children — or parents who work in the medical field and those children are more exposed than people who work in a grocery store or other type places.”
“Those people are not being asked to give up their children,” Nullman said.
Dr. Green’s attorney told People that the court’s assumption that the doctor would expose her daughter just because she worked in an emergency room was flawed.
“This concern that Dr. Greene would come home and she would have all of that exposure, theoretically as they allege, on her and on her clothes and what have you, it’s not reality,” he says. “Because what would happen is she would be working one day, come home, her daughter would be with father… and then on the days that she had her child, she wasn’t working.”
Eric Green’s attorney, Paul Leinoff, was quick to release a statement that said his client has the “utmost respect” for his ex-wife’s efforts in the battle against the novel coronavirus, CNN reported.
“We recognize and genuinely appreciate the sacrifices that she and all healthcare workers are all currently making to save lives and prevent further illness in Florida and around the world,” Leinoff said. “The Greenes’ temporary timesharing dispute was presented before the Court based upon the specific facts of this individual family and a decision was reached based upon the best interests and safety of a minor child, limited to the temporary circumstances presented by COVID-19.”
The statement said that Dr. Greene will get makeup time for the hours she missed with her daughter “during this challenging time.”
Leinoff said the doctor has had daily video communication with her daughter, CNN reported.