Contributed to TLB by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap
The National Safe Child Show, hosted by Tammi Stefano, covers topics involving the safety of children, addressing corruption and systemic failures that place children in harm’s way.
Tammi recently interviewed Jewels Stein, a mother who had her daughter taken by Los Angeles County’s Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) following accusations of Munchausen by proxy by UCLA medical physicians.
Jewels Stein is a paramedic with the Fire Department who has an extensive medical background. She works on movie sets, and she is currently producing a documentary. She raised four of her own children and two step children.
Daughter’s Medical Needs
Jewels related how her daughter has a history of autoimmune disorder, diagnosed by a pediatrician. Her daughter’s ANAs (antinuclear antibodies) were high on blood work. The doctors could not give them a specific diagnosis.
On October 14, 2013, her daughter’s symptoms escalated to a point that Jewels had to take her to the hospital. Her daughter woke up in the middle of the night with projectile vomiting.
“We were at family’s house for a birthday party, she woke with abdominal pain and vomiting. We drove back home and she was treated at home until it kept getting worse. When she ate she would cry and scream. By day three it started earlier in the day, I said O.K. this is not flu, something is wrong. I took her to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.”
“So how did that go?”
“When she got to the E.R., the doctor really took it very seriously because her pain was at such a high level. They tested her for everything. The first thing he thought was pancreatitis. They pretty much subsequently ruled everything out and they were going to send us home. I said it seems after she eats it gets worse so can you feed her before I take her home. Sure enough they fed her some food, because they had NPO (nothing by mouth) her at this point.”
“How old was she at this time? And can we say her name?”
“She was 15, Dakota.”
Dakota, 15 Years Old, Hospitalized by Doctors for Three Months with No Medical Diagnosis
“Three months we would be in Children’s Hospital, because she continued to vomit and the doctor’s couldn’t find out why… I would be in the hospital with her all day and all night and just watching her suffer.
They would take her off of food completely for five days and send her home. As soon as she started eating or drink again she would become dehydrated and couldn’t keep food down.
The one clue I had was she would crave protein, like eggs. She had eaten it for breakfast and she had some rice for lunch.
She ended up getting really bad and we ended up taking her back to the E.R. When we got there, she started to vomit what she had eaten for breakfast and by this time it was 4:00 pm in the afternoon. I told the doctor, this has to be a really important sign, please call the gastroenterologist and tell her.”
“You’re the mom, the doctors see her for x amount of time along with hundreds of other children. But you’re watching one person, your person, your baby and so you would know better. Good doctors rely on parents who do keep a close eye on their children. Did they appreciate all the work you had done?”
“I had some doctors that were amazing. They would talk to Dakota to get a thorough history, they would talk to me to get a thorough history, and they would listen to me. I had other doctors that were not like that, but you try to negotiate through this field of doctors.”
“So there were good doctors. You are talking to them. They are admitting her again. You are saying I have noticed something that is very substantial to what is happening here. We have already been in the hospital for months, the symptoms are still continuing, there has been no diagnosis that has solidified.”
“What they did from there, they did something called a delayed gastric emptying test. It is where they feed the child radioactive food and they put them in an x-ray machine and watch the food passing.
They have to go to sleep in there. They lay there for about four hours while the food is supposed to be passing through.
I sat outside and read a book and watched it and could see it wasn’t moving. She failed the gastric emptying test. That was showing there was something physiologically happening to her, there was something wrong.
Then Children’s Hospital brought in another specialist who gave her this very invasive, horrible test and basically said based on this test that went really wrong. They were supposed to feed her 1500 calories within a ten minute period during this test while they had put her under, and put 38 feet of tubing through here entire body and intestines.
It was the most agonizing thing, if I had known, this test was so invasive, I would have never, it’s called a motility test, and I would never have done it. During this test, Dakota had woken up because she had to be put under with anesthetic and she woke up and her throat was really messed up and raw. They were trying to make her eat a sandwich. And they were waking her up from anesthetic and she was not wanting to wake up.”
“And your baby is looking at you like, ‘Mom help me.’ ”
“Based on this test, two of the doctors there said that she passed the motility test.
Which I disagreed with because it went awry. Based on that they tried to say that she had an eating disorder now. They tried to say rumination, where people have to be trained to eat.
She continued to have cycles of pain and vomiting every five minutes while we were still in children’s hospital. Pediatric doctors said that she had cyclic vomiting. The gastroenterologist came to us and said it’s going to come down to her being fed through a tube. I started crying and Dakota started crying.”
“They gave her pain medication, they gave her morphine because her pain was so excruciating. Basically, they sent us home with a tube that went through her nose and down in her intestines. They sent us home with an array of medication that I had to give her every day, including valium.”
LA County DCFS Falsely Accused Jewels of Starving her Daughter to Death
“Clearly you have a long history with Children’s Hospital with specialists. They were respectful with you. One day that all changed. Do you remember what day that was?”
“It was at the end of January in the year 2014. At this point, my family and friends, I have friends that are lawyers and doctors and they were telling me, you need a new pediatrician. You need to get somebody to be the person who is going to be the director to her medical needs. She needs help and you have got to have somebody to champion this child’s cause to get a definite answer what is happening and how to fix it.
So I went to this wonderful doctor in the Pacific Palisades that was recommended. She saw Dakota in the office and Dakota started projectile vomiting right there in front of her in the middle of the floor.
She said I have never seen a child sicker that’s not in the hospital. I’d like to send you to a hospital for a second opinion. You can choose between these hospitals and she said UCLA. I’m going to admit her on Monday.
That Friday I got a knock on the door, I opened the door and there were two sheriffs and an emergency social worker. A Department of Child Family Service Emergency Social Worker. Because I have been a paramedic for years I didn’t let them in my house. I said I was a former paramedic and I know how this works. I asked, what is the problem?
They responded that we got a report that you are starving your child to death and you are only feeding her Tic Tacs.”
“Let’s tell the audience, the police come to your house. Sheriffs are there, they make this allegation…”
“I bring Dakota downstairs, she is dressed in clean pajamas. Her IV pole, I help her carry it downstairs. I told the social worker, you can come in, the police can’t, but you can.
She said I can’t come in without them. I told her you can set on couch with my daughter, I go upstairs and leave her alone with my daughter.
The woman was wonderful. She said everything is fine Jewels you don’t have anything to worry about.
We get these calls from time to time. Everything looks fine, your daughter is sick but she looks like she is being well cared for.
The next day, my daughter gets worse. She started to vomit blood. She was throwing up so long this green bile was coming up. She is throwing up and screaming. We ended up going to UCLA on Sunday.”
Surgery “Saves Daughter’s Life”
“You go to UCLA. Did they end up doing a surgery?”
“Yes, it saved her life in my opinion.”
“How long were you there, from that day until the day she got out of surgery?”
“It was January, February and into March. It was three months.”
“Folks, even though she is a working woman… You couldn’t work because this is your baby, and she is suffering and no one knows what’s going on. So you would literally sleep at the hospital six days a week.”
“I didn’t have any means to pay my bills but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. The only thing that mattered was she was crying, ‘Mom, don’t leave me mom.’ Here I had some of the most renowned specialists in the world telling me they don’t know what is wrong! Now we’ve got blood. Is she going to die? I was so scared!”
“What day did she have her surgery, the successful surgery?”
“I believe it was, the week of February, the first week in March. Basically, it stopped her from vomiting.”
Doctors Disagree – Want to Put Daughter in Psych Ward
“She had a tube in her stomach, right? You’re so relieved. This is over it really worked, and she is recovering.”
“There were three clinicians…The one doctor said to me, ‘You have to tell us the truth.’ “
“Do you remember the doctor?”
“His name is Dr. Nathan Lee, he is a clinician at UCLA.”
Folks if you have ever had or your children have ever had Dr. Nathan Lee from UCLA and you have had a bad experience, would you please email “help at nationalsafechild.com”
“The major doctor was Grace Deukmedjian. She was the head of that department. She was horrible! Because she actually fought with me. She yelled at me in front of my child, she yelled in front of the interns.”
“Why did she yell at you?”
“Because she kept telling me that she was presuming it was an eating disorder and I kept telling her, ‘No it’s not.’ And then the gastroenterologist and neurologist and psychiatrist and all the other doctors are agreeing that it is cyclic vomiting and that she has an issue.
But they’re still coming to me. Grace Deukmedjian, Catherine Ross and Nathan Lee, all from UCLA, the clinicians, they all were saying at the bottom of every entry they made that it was an eating disorder and they would not take no for an answer. Even after Dakota stopped vomiting and was healed from the surgery.
These people came in and told her that she would have to go to an eating disorder clinic in Ohio, it is a mental clinic. They wanted to do what they did to Justina Pellitier, take my daughter and put her in a mental ward for 16 months like they did her. I kept telling them ‘No, Dakota is actually eating.’ “
“She wants to eat, she just doesn’t want to keep projectile vomiting!”
Doctors Take Away Medical Rights
“But she could eat! That was the miracle! And I said to the doctor, ‘Let us show you, she has been eating…’
They came to me and said we are going to put her on a bunch of antidepressants and I said, ‘No.’ What happened was they brought me a piece of paper and said they were taking my medical rights away.
Dr. Grace Deukmedjian, she said that they were going to give Dakota the medication they wanted to give her, whether I agreed to it or whether Dakota agreed with it or not.
I called a friend of mine who is a doctor and said this doesn’t sound right. She said to me it is based on the fact that I signed the admission slip in the emergency room. I said I have signed a lot of admission slips in emergency rooms and I have never relinquished my medical rights to make decisions for my daughter.”
“Folks, when you take your child to the hospital, it isn’t just a matter of signing. You have to look at what you are signing. You have to cross off that fine print that you disagree with and put your initials there, because that becomes legally binding that you are not agreeing to that and you have to write that. You didn’t think to do that because you had been in and out of the hospital. But it was what cost you.”
“So they did that and my friend said, ‘Jewels, just shut up go sit in the corner and don’t fight with Deukmedjian anymore, don’t fight with Lee and don’t fight with Ross, just let them have their way.’
In the meantime, the gastroenterologist are coming in, they are saying ‘You are doing fine Dakota. You can start eating whenever you want,’ and treating her like a normal patient should be treated.”
“Were they collaborating with this other group?”
“They weren’t even communicating it seemed, because one wasn’t even listening to the other. And I couldn’t understand why there were trying to take my child who is now healed away and send her to an eating disorder clinic where they have to learn how to eat a piece of rice. They tried to get me to change my medical insurance to Med-Cal when we were in the hospital. I found out later, that if I had changed it, they would have sent her off right away.”
“Did social workers come to the hospital?”
“During this period, the day before my daughter’s surgery, her father, who has not been in her life for seven years, came the day before surgery. I had been calling him this whole time, during Thanksgiving, during Christmas, all this time.
It finally took a friend of ours, who is in a very high place in the movie industry, who has the ability to give him work because my former husband is a film producer. Because I think that person got involved is why he came.
This is when my doctor friend told me to shut up and go sit in the corner and not engage with Dr. Deukmedjian any further. Just let them do what they were going to do with Dakota and then once I get her out of there we can take her to a doctor of our choosing. At that time, my ex-husband comes in and I had stepped aside, I wasn’t going to talk to the doctors at all. One day I heard him saying something and I was like, I thought I heard you through the door saying ‘She this and she that…’ ”
“He is talking to the social workers behind closed doors…”
Day Daughter was to be Discharged from Hospital, Mother Escorted Out of Hospital in her Pajamas
“There was only one social worker that I was told was going to follow up and then close the case. And they asked me to sign everything, so I signed everything. Now in retrospect I would not have signed everything. I signed everything except for my employers, that they couldn’t contact my employers. But I had nothing to hide. But it doesn’t matter, they will turn everything against you.”
“After the surgery were you escorted by security out of the hospital?”
“Several days later, we were supposed to be discharged. Dakota and I were so happy. We were ready to put our lives back together. That’s when they called me to a meeting. They presented me with a piece of paper and said they are taking custody of my daughter.”
“When Jewels explained this to me in the beginning she explained that she was smiling, like this was a joke.”
“I really thought ‘Are you guys playing a joke on me, this is not reality.’
I was escorted in my pajamas and flip flops, I did not have my keys I did not have my purse. I was escorted out by the police, I was hysterical. My daughter has gone through hell and back again. Now you are going to take her mother from her. She is trying to heal, I don’t understand. They hand me a piece of paper and say be back here in 72 hours.”
“In a nutshell, what did they allege that you did wrong that justified the state coming to the hospital and stripping your daughter from you, her mother?”
“They said fictitious disorder, but it falls under Munchausen. Fictitious disorder according to them was that I caused my 15 year old daughter to exaggerate symptoms so she could get attention from doctors and get her body probed with tests.”
“This attention almost cost you your home, right, because you couldn’t work? This attention cost you many jobs that were great. That’s the kind of attention that they allege that you wanted, that you put on your child. Munchausen by proxy otherwise known as Factitious Disorder.”
UCLA Medical Doctor, Brenda Birch, is a Hired Gun for the State against Parents Falsely Accused of Munchausen by Proxy
“I hate Munchausen by proxy. I have been doing a lot of research on this, there is a specialist named Helen Hayward Brown, from Australia, who is the biggest advocate against Fictitious Disease and Munchausen by proxy. Helen Hayward Brown she is a doctor out of Australia, she is an expert witness against these cases.
There is a person at UCLA and I’ve since heard that UCLA has made a habit of looking at these cases predominantly because they have a doctor there named Doctor Brenda Birch, who is also the doctor who testified in Justina Pellitier’s case, who has written books on Fictitious Disorder and has made a habit of going after parents.”
“Brenda Birch, and so, Brenda is in UCLA, but she is also in Arizona, she travels all over the country…”
“She is the expert witness against the parents when it comes to Munchausen or Fictitious Disorder.”
“There was covert recording of attorneys speaking about this Dr. Brenda Birch and they said she was the hired gun for the state and they were laughing about it.”
“One of the things that Dr. Hayward Brown brought up, it is disheartening to me, it paints the characteristics of the mother that has Munchausen or Fictitious Disorder and it says here that the mother makes complaints about medical negligence, that the parent asks too many questions about the child’s medical care and the parent seeks a second opinion.
So, yes, I did ask a lot of questions about my daughter’s medical care, and I did seek a second opinion. It is disheartening to me because it presents a pretty scary situation and it even talks to that the parents are too assertive and they become involved in their child’s care.
In this day and age, I came from being a paramedic in a man’s world, I had to be assertive, it’s my nature, it’s my character, it’s who I am… It’s presenting a bad situation where parents are going to be afraid to go forth and afraid to ask questions and afraid to take their children to the doctors.
Once you are branded with this Munchausen by proxy or Fictitious Disorder, which is what they say in the juvenile court system, you are guilty until proven innocent. I told my public defender, how do you prove innocence from something that is fictitious? It is fictitious in every way, it’s not just fictitious disorder, it is made up and it’s basically a witch hunt against parents who give doctors problems. I’ve even seen on the internet that doctors can negate a malpractice suit by saying a parent has Munchausen by proxy.”
“The thing I found out when I was at UCLA, when Dr. Grace Deukmedjian started yelling at me and started to be inappropriate, I asked for a medical liaison, every hospital has one. A medical liaison is someone that comes and deals between the doctor and the parent.
What I didn’t know until I left, is that Brenda Birch is that hospital liaison. So when you call and you’re in trouble and you’re worried sick about your kid and you are arguing with the doctor. You want to have some say here comes Brenda birch and she is your friend, but she is not. I was very fortunate she was testifying against another parent across country.”
Mother Fights 13 Months to Get Daughter Back
“You lost custody of your child, Dakota, for how long?”
“I fought to get my daughter back for thirteen months.”
“Folks, thirteen months. This mom has been taking care of her child above and beyond, willing to put her career aside, willing to lose her home to make sure her child was O.K. and her health was restored. Finally, after her health was restored they take you out of the hospital they take your child away.”
“She is not a medical doctor, she has a PhD. That is not a medical doctor.”
“When you went into court, children’s court, you must have walked in and said, thank God I’m out of there. I am going to approach this judge. I am a professional, I am an upstanding citizen in my community.”
“I will tell you what happened to me, I was left on the sidewalk at UCLA in Westwood, California without my purse, and I was in my pajamas. I was escorted out, I couldn’t say goodbye to my daughter.
I was crying, it was the worst day of my life. I couldn’t imagine what my daughter was going through. She had gone through hell, this was finally her moment and now she is having her life literally ripped away from her; her home, her bed, her community, her friends, her acting career, everything gone in an instant. Now she is being threatened with foster care.”
Jewels Stein Established the Organization “Kidz Deserve a Voice” for the Children Taken By Child Protective Services
“Tell me about the documentary, folks we are going to continue. Now if you want to find out you have to return to listen to more. What happened to you is right out of a horror movie. To think that Child Protective Services protects children. Did they protect your child? Did they hurt your child? I will leave you with this folks there was some medical things done afterwards that really caused your child some damage all under the auspice of Child Protective Services.”
“I started Kidz Deserve a Voice. We have to change that by creating a bill that will give these children rights. We need to come together in numbers in masses. We need to protest on city hall, we need to get a better situation for parents that we can do reunification of families. We don’t want children taken out in the middle of the night out of their beds and put into police cars. We should change that warrant to make it a 72 hours warrant where the parents will be able to come to court with their children and plead the case.”
“Give us the name of your website?” Jewels answered, “It’s called Kidzdeserveavoice.org“ Trauma of Being Medically Kidnapped Continues After Child Returns Home Jewels continued, “My daughter is still healing from her emotional ordeal now.”
Tammi quotes Bob Powell, a Northern California attorney,
“One night being removed from your parent’s home could be a lifelong traumatic situation.”
“It is PTSD for kids. They don’t know what has happened to them and they don’t know how to get help. We need to be there for them.”
“I want to take a moment to dedicate this show to my dad who is very ill and has been told he doesn’t have long. I want to tell you dad that I love you and thank you for all that you have done.”
Jewels closes with,
“I want to put a shout out to MedicalKidnap.com It is a site online that is reaching out to all of these parents that are victimized by DCFS or CPS and they are writing these articles and exposing these stories. Keep up the good work, they are amazing. I subscribe to them and get these stories daily.” Tammi said, “You get them daily. Which means that this type of criminal activity that is only established to protect – MedicalKidnap.com is showing that they are not really protecting. MedicalKidnap.com and kidzdeserveavoice.org.”
Watch entire interview:
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