By TLB Staff Writer: Christina England
When a child is seriously ill and in pain, the one person that they need above anyone else is their mother, but for one very ill teenager, this basic right has been denied him by Denver County Court.
On Friday, December 5, 2014, the court decided against returning Max Summers, a fifteen year-old with Lyme disease, to his parents, and instead decided that should he should remain in the care of the state.
If this were not bad enough, his father, Greg Eckenrode, reported on his Facebook page that the youngster has been barred from ANY AND ALL contact with his mother, who, according to Greg has been Max’s 24/7 caregiver since his condition became critical 3.5 years ago.
Background History of Greg’s Story and Updates
Greg and Jasmine Eckenrode’s story began in July 2014, when they took their fifteen year-old son Max, who suffers from Lyme disease, to Denver Hospital in Colorado, as he was suffering from severe stomach cramps and vomiting.
However, despite having a confirmed diagnosis of Lyme disease, an illness causing joint pain, neurological problems, paralysis, numbness or weakness in the limbs, heart problems and severe fatigue, the doctors treating Max for his stomach problems believed Max to be far more able than was being described.
Without having a full set of medical records, the physician in charge of Max’s case decided that Max was not as ill as his parents were saying and instead claimed they were over-medicating him. Without vital reports and lacking the information required, the ill-informed physician reported the family to Child Protective Services (CPS), portraying Mrs. Eckenrode as a mother suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
Greg explained to The Liberty Beacon that they had supplied the CPS with all the paper work and reports needed to confirm Max diagnosis. He stated:
“We gave the social worker a 2 inch thick stack of documents and talked with her for over an hour telling her everything about Max’s illness, my illness, my wife’s illness and our plans for selling our home and moving closer to my job. She left with us assured that the matter would be ended after she spoke with Max’s LLMD. In fact, she said we would not hear back from her if the case was closed, so we should expect to not hear back from her.”
“A week or so later we heard back from her and she tells us our LLMD is a quack. My wife then gave her contact info for Max’s cardiologist figuring that would surely end any suspicions of MBP.”
As the couple did not hear back from CPS, they believed that everything was in order and that the case had been closed. Not realizing that there was a problem, Jasmine and Max went to stay with friends in California, while Greg remained at home to sell the house and to search for a more suitable one for his family.
After compiling their reports, CPS went to the family home, only to find that Max and his mother were not there. Concerned that the family had left the premises to avoid further involvement, CPS claimed custody of Max and issued warrants for the pair to be detained.
In court a few days later, Greg, also a sufferer of Lyme disease, became confused with a ‘brain fog,’ a symptom of Lyme disease, and was unable tell the court where his family was residing. This resulted in him being sentenced to 180 days in jail, for being in contempt of court.
To protect her son, Jasmine returned Max to Colorado by plane and decided to go into hiding as she feared that she too would be sent to jail if she returned.
However, once home, and with his father in jail, Max was taken into the care of CPS. Due to fact that Max remained adamant that he did not want to go into foster care, CPS arranged for his sister to have custody.
Once Max was in the clutches of the CPS, Greg was released from jail, only to find that he had lost his job because he had been incarcerated. If this was not bad enough, he no longer had access to his finances because the courts had seized his credit cards and subpoenaed his financial and phone records.
This meant that Greg was unable to access the money from the sale of their house. In normal circumstances he could have moved in with his daughter however, this was now impossible as she was caring for Max.
He told The Liberty Beacon:
“We are homeless because of this case. We have a home at our daughter’s house but cannot go there because our son is there, and my wife is not allowed any contact with him.
I am a Corporate Technical Trainer and was making an annual salary of $75,000 a year when I was thrown in jail. I was the sole breadwinner because my wife is disabled due to Lyme. When I was thrown in jail, I lost my job. Unemployment has been denied because I was dismissed from my job because I was sent to jail. The denial letter states that because I broke the law, it is my fault I lost my job, although contempt of court is not considered breaking the law and the papers I received from my company did not say that was the reason for termination.”
The letter from the Unemployment Benefits Agency read:
“Based on information received, our investigation has determined that you were discharged after being convicted and incarcerated as a result of a violation of the law. It is determined that you are responsible for the separation and a disqualification is being imposed.
By law, we cannot pay you benefits based on the wages you earned from this employer.”
The agency went on to say that they could not pay Greg any benefits for ten weeks, meaning Greg was not only homeless, but penniless as well.
Greg has no choice but to live in his van on the streets of Colorado in the middle of winter and says that all he wants is to be reunited with his family.
He has asked me to ask readers if there is anyone who has somewhere that he could park his van out of the bad weather throughout the extremely cold months and tells us that he is currently searching for a new job and has lined up two interviews. However, as we all know, this could prove a challenge after spending time in jail.
Please Help Reunite This Family for Christmas
This is the time of year when families should be together and yet because of a misdiagnosis made by an ill-informed medical professional, a fifteen-year old, is unable to see his parents at Christmas. His father has been left destitute with no-where to sleep except a van and his mother has had to remain in hiding.
This family needs your help.
Please write letters to the following addresses in support of this family. The next hearing is on December 19, 2014; therefore please send in your letters ASAP!
Howard V. Bartlett – Juvenile Court Magistrate
Denver Juvenile Court
520 West Colfax
Denver, CO 80204
Guardian ad Litem
1325 S Colorado Blvd., #701
Denver, CO 80222
Nicole Young (caseworker)
1200 Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80424
Please e-mail a copy of your letter to Max’s CASA volunteer. While he is not a party to the case, he is there to represent Max’s interest.
To read more of the history on this story, please visit a great partner site Medical Kidnap.