Last week ASN brought you the story of a military family in Landstuhl, Germany, fighting a U.S. Army hospital for their 2 month old child who, as the family stated, sustained injuries due to a falling accident in the home involving the family’s other toddler. As outlined in the first article, this story is not about the allegations of abuse made by the hospital, as that is the job of civilian courts to decide, this is about the hospital administration’s actions that have circumvented the legal system and appears to have illegally stripped the parents’ rights over the child.
Documents obtained by the mother today from the German Prosecutor’s office state that the investigation into the sole suspect in this case, the father of the child, was handed over to US military investigators, due to the Criminal Investigative Division of the United States Army having jurisdiction over service members serving in a foreign country. The mother was not named in the German investigation and is not currently under investigation by German authorities for the alleged abuse.
After weeks of requests by the family, the hospital finally released most of the medical records to the parents. ASN has discovered that medical records note that the hospital had taken the child from the parents’ custody and restricted access to the infant before any legal action from civilian authorities, the soldier’s command, or a military Staff Judge Advocate in this case. ASN made specific inquiries to the Department of Defense about the limitation of powers the Family Advocacy Program had in situations such as this, and the Pentagon responded with a specific guidelines for the Family Advocacy Program to follow, none of which appear to have occurred in this case.
The physicians’ notes also state that the child had been placed in medical protective custody well before any such order had been issued by the hospital command. This has raised legal questions by the mother regarding her denial to make medical decisions for her child. While the hospital continues to make medical decisions for her child without her consent, the mother has sought legal advice in the U.S. Without the presence of a court order removing her rights, attorneys state that there is no circumstance that constitutionally allows a medical facility to act without parental consent or legal action by the courts when life threating conditions do not exist.
According to the German prosecutor’s office, a CID investigation into the father remains open. If the mother was suspected in the case, court officials state that the case would have been transferred back to the German Polizie (Police). This has not occurred despite documentation from the FAP (Family Advocacy Program) naming the mother as the sole suspected abuser in the case, clearing the father of suspicion.
After a failed attempt by the hospital to have the mother sign a power of attorney authorizing a medical transfer to the U.S., court papers were filed with the German courts seeking authority to medically evacuate the child back to the United States citing a need to continue medical treatment as stated in the medical protective custody order dated April 6th. This directly contradicts medical documentation, including discharge papers from the hospital dated April 12th. This court hearing is to take place at 10 AM tomorrow morning and ASN will update this story at that time.
As remarkable as the lack of oversight in duties of the Family Advocacy Program is, more families have begun to come forward with similar stories of how the FAP took parental rights away from them while overseas as well, even to the extent of placing them in temporary care of what they referred to as “FAP homes.” The Department of Defense has stated that the FAP is not involved in the placement of children into foster homes.
According to legal experts contacted by ASN, this case has the markings of criminal negligent behavior, medical malpractice, fraud, and potentially kidnapping or child stealing. The family has reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union. The mother has also stated that the Inspector General’s office is looking into situation as well. ASN is reaching out to the Pentagon again for further clarification on this case and will bring you updates as this story develops.