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A sickly eight-year-old boy was taken from his family and foisted into foster care after his parents sought a second medical opinion and recourse for alleged medical malpractice against their son.
This is what happened to Jaxon Adams, now 8, who had suffered chronic illness since his youth. Over the years he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, ADHD, severe food allergies, and eventually, epilepsy. He began having seizures. In June of 2013, his appetite subsided and he lost a considerable amount of weight, and had a gastronomy tube surgically inserted through his abdomen into his stomach.
Jaxon's parents, Tiffany and Jason Adams of Independence, sought care for the boy through nurse practitioner Ingrid Larson in Dr. Amber Hoffman's practice at the Beacon Clinic in Children's Mercy Hospital (CMH) in March of 2014, according to Health Impact News.
After being under CMH care for several month, the Beacon Clinic staff confronted Tiffany and Jason Adams about the boy's apparent "lack of nutrition" at home. Health Impact News reported what happened next:
When the nurse said that she couldn't figure out why he hadn't been gaining weight, Tiffany said that they would be looking for someone who would be able to figure it out.
The parents had begun speaking with a medical malpractice attorney, who started looking into Jaxon's medical records.
It was right after this that the little boy began fainting. Tiffany said that he just passed out just a few feet in front of her while he was riding on an electric scooter, an accident that landed him in the hospital with a cut above his eye. Once he fainted while eating birthday cake at a party. While Jaxon's parents were puzzled about the fainting spells, the doctors at the Beacon Clinic decided that they were psychosomatic. They also told them that all of Jaxon's problems were in his head.
When the Adams said they wanted to get a second opinion, they were told that they were not allowed to do so. When they suggested switching pediatricians, again the Adams were told that they could not.
On September 15, the family had an appointment with Dr. Hoffman at the Beacon Clinic. The doctor came in and asked why they disagreed with the diagnosis of psychosomatic causes for Jaxon's multiple conditions. According to Tiffany, the doctor's hostile attitude became upsetting to her son, and he was removed to a waiting room. The Adams insisted that they had a right to seek another opinion. To which Dr. Hoffman replied:
"I want you to know big hospitals take kids away from families for this stuff."
Tiffany asked, "For seeking a second opinion?" When the doctor nodded yes, Jaxon's mother asked, "Why would you do that to me?"
Mrs. Adams heard vengeance in Dr. Hoffman's response: "I hope you have a good attorney. We're going to have your behind."
Soon after, the Adams were questioned by a case worker from the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services.
"They came back the next day and told me directly that they didn't even have time to read his medical records. They were taking him based upon a statement a doctor made," Tiffany Adams told WDAF, a Kansas City Fox affiliate.
"We were seeking out other options. We felt like Mercy Children's [in Kansas City] couldn't help him. We just wanted our son to be better," Mrs. Adams said to CBS St. Louis. "We wanted a normal little 8-year-old boy."
"They took Jaxon away from us based upon our request for a second opinion," she added. Mrs. Adams said that she was told that Jaxon may have undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder.
His abduction by social workers was recorded and placed on YouTube. The caption states: "This is the uncut raw footage of Children's Division in Jackson County Missouri removing our 8 year old son Jaxon for BOGUS allegations made by an overzealous Dr. At Children's Mercy Hospital in KC."
Later, Jaxon's parents learned that they stood accused of medical abuse, medical neglect, lack of nutrition, lack of supervision (based on him falling off the scooter when he fainted, although Tiffany was right there when it happened), and psychological abuse. The accusations were not tangible enough to present criminal charges, but were sufficient to pass the low standard which is set to confiscate children from their families.
Since Jaxon's abduction, his parents alleged that he has faced actual abuse, such as being fed the foods he was known to be allergic to, causing him to suffer severe reactions.
Since the ordeal began, Jaxon has faced prolonged isolation from his parents for weeks, leaving him feeling abandoned and without explanation. After he tried to escape his hospital confinement and call his parents, the phone was removed from his room.
Eventually, he was transferred from the hospital to live with a foster family. The devastation felt by the Tiffany and Jason Adams is palpable. They wrote on Facebook that they only were permitted 30 minutes of contact with Jaxon for the entire month of February; no phone calls. And they have virtually no legal recourse at this point, short of an act of Congress.
The family is desperate for financial help, after suffering thousands of dollars in legal expenses to futilely fight for custody. Not only that, but the State of Missouri has ordered the couple to pay $798 in child support and is now garnishing the wages of Mr. Adams. To top things off, Tiffany said that her home-based business has been lost following the custody ordeal. They say that they expect to lose everything they own in fighting for Jaxon. Donate to them at their GoFundMe Page.
More details and allegations can be found at Health Impact News. Hat tip to Terri LaPoint for her coverage of the story.
"We want our son's story heard as near and as far and as loud and as clear as we can before they make us close our mouths. He's voiceless right now. It's our duty as his parents to be his voice when he's voiceless." — Tiffany and Jason Adams