Contributed to TLB : Health Impact News & Medical Kidnap
Written by: Terri LaPoint
April and Joshua Whinery report that they won’t ever give up fighting for their children whom they say were medically kidnapped by DHS in Oklahoma. According to Joshua, it started “all because I took my child to the hospital.”
Degenerative bone disease runs in his family, yet the couple was accused of abuse. Though the family has repeatedly asked for him to be tested, DHS has allegedly refused to allow the test, attempting instead to terminate all of the couple’s parental rights.
The last they heard, Hazel, who is almost 5 now, was praying every morning and night to be able to see her parents. It has been almost a year now since the Whinerys have been permitted to see their kids. All visits were cut off last March with Hazel, Travis, 3 1/2, and Aiden, who turned 2 in December. DHS reportedly told the family:
“You’re never going to get your kids back, so it is best to cut it off now and get the kids in counseling.”
Baby with Health Issues, Showing Possible Signs of Bone Issues Which Run in the Family
April says that Hazel and Travis were always in good health. Things were different when Aiden was born to April and Joshua, because this baby had a few health issues that she hadn’t experienced with the others. There was thrush, then a period of projectile vomiting, which stopped after his doctor diagnosed him as lactose intolerant and switched formulas.
At the two month checkup, April says that they asked about a couple of knots they had found on Aiden’s ribs. There are a number of degenerative bone issues in Joshua’s family, and they were concerned. Aiden is Joshua’s first child, thus the only one of the children to be affected by his family history. The other two children are April’s from a previous relationship. The doctor reportedly assured the Whinerys that the knots were nothing, chalking them up to the baby growing.
At three months, Aiden had a rough month. He had pneumonia, bronchitis, then pneumonia again.
He began running a high fever, so April and Joshua reportedly took Aiden to the ER at Jackson County Memorial Hospital. By this time, the baby had reportedly already been to the doctor or hospital about a dozen times, and had two sets of chest x-rays. On this occasion, they say another x-ray was taken, and the doctors found four rib fractures. This was allegedly reported as abuse to DHS.
DHS Takes All the Children From their Family, Refuses to Test Baby to Find Explanation
April and Joshua tried to figure out how this could have happened, and they told the social workers that Travis, who was not yet 2 at the time, had tripped and fallen recently, landing on the baby. However, there was no bruising, and no marks. Aiden never acted like he was in pain, so they didn’t think anything was wrong. Videos of Aiden show a happy, cooing baby. They were very puzzled.
The Whinerys say they later learned that the rib fractures showed up on the previous two x-rays, but no one ever said anything to them about it.
After Aiden was released from the hospital, the family went home, preparing to celebrate Hazel’s birthday. However, shortly after they got home, DHS called and told them to bring all three children to their doctor at Oklahoma City Children’s Hospital, Dr. John Stuemky. He found nothing wrong with Hazel or Travis. However, based solely on Aiden’s x-rays, allegedly without even looking at his medical history or family history, the doctor ruled that it was abuse.
That was the day that DHS seized all three children, on March 25, 2013, Hazel never even got to open her birthday presents.
April and Joshua have been trying to get their son tested ever since, to no avail.
According to Joshua’s mother Kelli Mossier, there are a great deal of fragile bone conditions in their family. A couple of cousins have osteogenesis imperfecta, which is defined as “a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause.” Other family members have Marfan syndrome, and Joshua’s grandmother and Joshua himself have pectis carinatum, an abnormal protrusion of the chestbones. Despite this history, DHS allegedly fought against a judge’s order to have the baby tested for any kind of bone disease or rickets.
Signs of Rickets Could Be Vaccine-Related
DHS acknowledges that Aiden has one of the classic signs of rickets, bowed legs, but allegedly Dr. Stuemky has testified that the Whinerys actually caused the bowed legs. Even though his accusation of abuse is what led to the separation of three children from everyone that they know, Dr. Stuemky has refused to testify in person in court against the parents. Though the judge was reportedly not happy about it, he was permitted to testify via Skype.
According to a recent report by Health Impact News, Dr. David Ayoub has connected infantile rickets with vaccine injury. Aiden was fully vaccinated according to the recommended schedule. He says that a number of parents have been falsely accused of abuse when the real culprit is vaccine-induced infantile rickets. To date, Aiden has never been checked for Vitamin D or C deficiency.
No Charges Filed, Yet Family Kept from the Children
April reports that the children’s physician, Dr. Abdallah Dawod, has “stated that if [the Whinerys] had purposely hurt him he would not have been brought to the hospital so many times.”
No charges have been pressed against the family, and the original allegation by DHS of abuse has disappeared. According to April, when they “started going to court over this, they changed their story and said our children are deprived. The day they took them from us they said we abused him. My question is where did their abuse claim go?”
The family says there is not, nor ever has been, proof of abuse or neglect.
Allegedly, DHS has also accused Joshua of presenting a “threat of harm,” based on the fact that he went to every doctor’s appointment with April. However, Kelli says that April didn’t yet have her driver’s license at the time, so naturally Joshua drove them to appointments. Suspicion was also cast upon him when he refused to sign anything or speak to DHS without an attorney present.
Joshua’s mother Kelli has asked for the children to be placed with her, and she was approved by DHS for foster care in her county. However, the DHS in the county with custody has denied her application. She told Health Impact News that they won’t let her have the children because she believes that Joshua and April are innocent.
“All I want is my grandkids.”
Health Concerns with the Children Since Going into Foster Care
The family is upset about the medical care, or lack thereof, that their children have received since being in foster care. When Aiden was a year old, April reports that they found, during a visit, that Aiden had a large knot on the left side of his ribs. They called in a caseworker.
After much insistence, Aiden was seen by a doctor, who said that it was nothing. Another time his parents found him to be bloated and covered in red spots, but again the doctor DHS took him to allegedly said it was nothing.
Interestingly, later x-rays allegedly taken after the children were in foster care allegedly show 15, 21, and 24 rib fractures, in contrast to the original 4 that showed up on the x-ray that formed the basis for the children’s removal from their parents.
Travis was reportedly rarely sick before, but began having ear infections and not eating, and losing weight in foster care. He was even hospitalized while in foster care without anyone informing his parents.
Joshua told us that Hazel used to always be a very happy, healthy little girl, but after she was taken by CPS, she started getting sick frequently. During the first visit after their removal, he says that she screamed to go back home with her parents. They say that the social worker offered to buy her McDonald’s.
Near the end of a Skype visit last year with her parents, Hazel’s foster parents told her it was time to go to bed. Hazel cried out to April:
“I don’t want to go to sleep. I want YOU, Mommy. I want to go home with you. Why can’t I go home with Mommy?”
Attorney Bullied by Assistant DA?
According to April, the first attorney on their case was threatened by someone in the DA’s office. The attorney allegedly had a son about the same age as Aiden.
Kelli (grandmother of the children) told Health Impact News that “Stephen Booker, the assistant DA, scared her off of the case,” by threatening to come after her baby.
The family was referred to another attorney, who reportedly never met with them. Now they are with their third attorney.
Parents Pressured to Sign over Rights for Strangers to Adopt Their Kids
A hearing for termination of parental rights was originally scheduled for November 17 – 21, but the state cancelled that trial, opting for a mediation hearing instead. That hearing was on January 13. The family said that they were hopeful that things would turn around for them. That didn’t happen.
In the hearing they were reportedly told, “Just make it easy on yourself, and sign your rights over.” Their new attorney reportedly encouraged them to take the deal, because they were offering an open adoption, and they would be able to see their children occasionally, as opposed to risking never seeing them again if they chose to go to trial.
The foster family was present with their attorney. They are allegedly ready to adopt the children. Even though September was the first time that all three children were in the same foster home, the Whinery’s heard in court that the state doesn’t “want to move them from the environment they are stable in.” April points out that they had no problem removing them from the stability of their own home.
Joshua wanted no part of that option. He said he had been under the impression that the mediation hearing was going to be about mediation. Instead, he says, they were offered Plan A – giving their children to someone else, or Plan B – go to court. The option of the children going to a family member, per federal law, was never presented.
“They were all like stunned because I guess they thought we were just going to sign the rights over.”
The foster parents brought a photo album to the hearing, and April and Joshua “sat and bawled our eyes out.”
Family Broken-Hearted, But Refusing to Give Up!
They are devastated at not being able to see their children. April told us,
“It’s hard. All I knew was being a mom, and now I sit here every day wondering what to do with myself.”
They miss their babies terribly and still cannot wrap their brains around how all of their children could have been taken from them, with the possibility of that being forever, because of something that no doctor thought anything of the first months of Aiden’s life, which they believe is the result of a genetic bone disease. Doctors allegedly saw those same rib fractures twice before and never even mentioned them. Yet, while out of their care, more fractures have allegedly shown up, but those have been dismissed as nothing.
DHS Caseworker Quits because “She couldn’t stand to watch families go through what my family is going through”
People who know the couple insist that there is no way that April or Joshua would ever hurt their children.
April reports that a former DHS caseworker who used to be on their case came into her work, saying that
“she quit working for DHS because they don’t live up to their mission statement. She told me she quit because she couldn’t stand to watch families go through what my family is going through.”
Support this Family
The date has not yet been set for the next hearing, but it is expected to take place in late March or early April. Supporters are hoping for people to get involved and help this young couple fight for their children. Little Hazel has prayed for a long time to go back home.
There is a Facebook page set up by supporters to show support and encourage the Whinerys as they face this battle, called Please Give Me My Babies Back.
Mary Fallin is the Governor of Oklahoma, and may be reached at (405) 521-2342. She can be contacted via email here.
According to her Twitter page, she has made a commitment to work to reduce heart disease. April and Joshua Whinery have a serious heart problem – broken hearts, because their children have been unjustly taken from them.
Congressman David Perryman represents the Whinerys’ district, and may be reached at (405) 557-7401 or emailed from here.
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