When the Accuser is the Abuser

(Appeared in CNN iReport)

Today in the news is the shocking story of a young man who was chained in the family basement for months. My son was treated similarly, only his chains were the force of an illness, and the abuser was the State. Instead of protecting my son, the State abused him.

This is how it started: my son entered a hospital after nine months of a mystery illness, and was treated with intentional and arbitrary pain. We were told that he had no physical illness—contradicting what two other doctors had already told us—and that he could be punished into instantaneous remission, if only we all believed.

I had trouble accepting the “belief” part, and trouble accepting the therapeutic value of arbitrary pain.

Under their treatment, my son’s condition worsened rapidly, and he became almost completely paralyzed. I begged that the treatment be done differently; and when that was denied, I asked to have him signed out of the hospital, citing the extensive harm they were doing.

They claimed that by being critical of their methods, I was preventing their success. I had jinxed their hoodoo. Child Protective Services (CPS) was called in to force me to accept their diagnosis and “treatment.” Their claim was that because they were professionals, they were right, and that by claiming that they were hurting my son, I was causing the very damage I complained about; because in doing so, I undermined their authority!

To my great dismay, every person involved—the judge, the court appointed lawyers, CPS—all agreed that objecting to the treatment amounted to abuse of my son. They agreed that by criticizing doctors, I had scotched the hospital’s efforts, and thus was guilty of child abuse—or at least was guilty of “likely putting the minor at risk of severe emotional abuse.”

CPS took custody of my son, and enforced the punishment-as-treatment insisted on by the hospital. That my son failed to respond to their treatment was cited as evidence of the “abuse” I had inflicted on him—by voicing my opposition to their stunningly cruel and unusual treatment. All other medical opinions were forcefully rejected, no matter their expertise and experience. I was told that by even seeking any another medical opinion, I risked losing all rights to my son.

It took 573 days, and over $100,000 to get my son out of the clinging grasp of CPS, and allow him to be seen by a qualified expert. The nationally respected expert confirmed that my son had a physiological illness, and that forcing him to endure physical and psychological suffering was not a legitimate form of treatment. Exactly as I had said from the very beginning.

It took a total of four years before my son was able to use his legs again. The process imposed first by the hospital, and later by CPS, was directly responsible for causing him immense suffering—in addition to permanent physical disability, disfigurement and pain.

Despite the intensity of my son’s trauma, and the extremity of the harm he suffered—or because of it—there was absolutely no accountability on the part of the officials who usurped my duties as parent. No one ever acknowledged harming my son, or ever admitted that causing pain is hardly a standard form of treatment for any illness—psychological or physical.

My attempts to find legal redress through the courts was thoroughly stymied. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice had expired while my son was still in the care of CPS; and CPS, themselves, had the rock-solid excuse that they were relying on the expertise of the hospital. They were supported by a battery of laws that grants them immunity from prosecution.

I have written an account of my experiences, Team Zip It, and the Power of Naught; a True Account of Medical Hubris and State Sponsored Errorism. I want the world to know what was done, and I want to make sure it never happens to another child again. Telling the story is my only redress.


Defensive Doctoring

Every year, an estimated two hundred thousand patients lose their lives from medical error. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US. The number of patients harmed—not killed—by error is even higher. Lawsuits can and do arise therefrom.

The effort to avoid suit is called, in the healthcare industry, “defensive doctoring.”

Every year, over a quarter of a million children are taken from their parents by Social Services. The taking can be—and is—done on a preemptive basis; and can be justified by the most arbitrary of reasons. The taken child then becomes the fulcrum of a tremendously coercive power: “Do as we say, or you will never see your child again.”

What percentage of children are taken from their families as a coverup for medical error? The answer to that question is “confidential.” However, I am a firsthand witness of exactly such an occurrence: In the hospital, my son was the victim of gross medical incompetance. I expressed my concern to the doctors. Social Services was called in, specifically to prevent me from criticizing the actions of the doctors. Child Protective Services (CPS) was highly effective in that regard. They prevented a lawsuit against the hospital that nearly killed my son, paralyzed his body for a year, and his legs for four years, based on a “treatment” that imposed arbitrary pain, and insisted on belief. Great pain was caused. Permanent harm was done. Accountability was naught.

In the course of the intervention by CPS, I continued to try to advocate for my son with the sole request that he be allowed qualified medical care. I was thwarted at every turn. External authority was forcefully ruled out, to the degree that it contradicted the claims of the hospital.

I want every person on earth to know what was done. I want to hold the perpetrators to account, and make sure that this never happens to another family, another child. Help me take a stand for family rights. Read my book. Sign my petition.


When something really, really bad happens in your life, what do you do? I’m talking about the worst shit imaginable! Something so bad that it literally ruins your life. How do you deal with it in a positive way? (The question also has to be, how do you deal with these bad circumstances, before and during, not merely what do you do after.)

By analogy, how do you take manure, and translate its benefits into healthy plants?

Manure has to undergo a process before plants can use it. Likewise, the disasters in our life undergo a process that can render them valuable to the individual, and to the community. What is that process?

I will argue that understanding and communication have fundamental roles in resolving our problems, however serious those problems may be. And I will argue, that those are also important factors before and during the problem. That is where my detractors take issue, and that is what this story is about. Their position was, and is, that understanding and communication are to be avoided. At least to the degree that it opposes their views.

To me, that position sounded (and sounds) like monkey business, and I begged to differ. But that only affirmed their need to step in, to do more of what I complained about; because I’d have to be crazy to disagree with them, to find fault, to criticize! My failure to consent—to ignorance and silence—was what provoked their authority.

Their position was for me to shut up, and get on with it. I see that as exactly the problem in the first place! This book is my attempt to undo the process of ignorance and unreason, by reporting the facts.

I might get in trouble again. I need a lot of people to know what is going on, or I might get more of the same—of what this story describes.

They will argue that the way to avoid more of the same is to do as I am told—shut up and get on with it.

Sorry, no can do.

If you ask me, I would say that they have something to hide. Basically, my story is an exposé of their dirty little secret. Except that it’s not little. Not for my family, and not for the hundreds of thousands of families that are treated likewise.

I need to churn up attention. There is an aeration process that has to take place.

Let the horror show begin. Read my book.

The Story, Briefly

As medical care becomes a function of institutions, rather than of private practice, it is likely that the doctor you visit will have more loyalty to their employer, than to the patient.

On a personal level, this book answers the question: how do you rise, when you’ve been beat down so bad you can hardly breathe? The first thing to notice, is that this is not a new problem. A great many people have addressed it. The answer, in short, is: you talk about it. First, anyway. That is the healthy way to deal with problems. Significantly, therein lies the great divide that underlies the conflict of this story. Great effort was made to ensure that the events recorded in the story were not talked about.

The Constitution deals with rights and wrongs, and it is no accident that the First Amendment is, well, first. Speaking out, telling the truth, is fundamental to resolving injustices. My story is a petition to the government for redress of grievances, exactly as provided for in the Bill of Rights. This story is both about rising from the ashes, and is itself the means by which I rise. This is my story:

My thirteen-year-old son took ill, and didn’t recover. After nine months, his mother and I took him to a prestigious hospital. There, his treatment was shockingly incompetent. He declined, rapidly and radically. He quickly worsened, and became almost completely paralyzed, over a period of four weeks

I said, “You are harming him!”

They said, “You can’t say that!”

The story procedes from there. Their position was soon enforced by the State. My position was obstructed. We didn’t talk about him being harmed, we talked about what I couldn’t say.

The State intervened, to “protect” my son from abuse. Instead, they enforced abuse. They claimed that their medical care was the only qualified medical care. Instead, they  obstructed qualified medical care. Great harm was done, great suffering endured, great expense incurred.

If their actions had been committed by an individual, that person would be behind bars for life. If committed by a foreign terrorist, that terrorist would be in Gitmo getting a taste of their own medicine. And yes it was that bad! But because it was done by the government, there is no accountability or redress. I am not even supposed to talk about it!

That‘s what the book is about. That’s what this blog is about. I’m talking about it. Help me hold their feet to the fire!