Mother and Father took their seven-week-old daughter to the pediatrician because she was fussy and did not seem well. At the pediatrician’s office the baby was diagnosed with an ear infection and sent home with a prescription for an antibiotic. Parents took baby back to the pediatrician’s office a second time the same day where they were reassured everything was fine with the baby. Parents took the baby back to the pediatrician’s office a third time the very next day and was given a prescription for a chest x-ray. Parents immediately took baby to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where a chest x-ray revealed two rib fractures. The child abuse experts at CHOP claimed they tested for, and ruled out, all possible medical explanations and diagnosed the fractures as having been caused by abuse. The baby was placed in foster care with strangers while her older brother was placed with a family member. Parents elected not to engage an attorney who would search for an alternative explanation for the fractures believing they could not win against doctors from CHOP anyway. The trial court heard testimony from a doctor on the child abuse team at CHOP (sometimes called the SCAN team – Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect), and heard no testimony about any medical condition the baby might have that could have caused the baby to fracture bones with minimal trauma.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lyris Younge conducted a hearing on the child abuse (dependency) petition and found the baby had been abused. While the court returned the baby’s older brother to the parents, the court would not return the baby to the parents, or even move the baby into care with a family member unless and until one or both of the parents either confessed to causing the fractures or provided a medical explanation for the fractures. Parents then retained Mark Freeman who reviewed all of the medical records and consulted with the appropriate experts who found the baby had a collagen disorder. However, the court then refused to hear the new medical evidence telling the parents they should have presented that evidence when the hearing on the petition about whether the baby had been abused was held. Mark Freeman attempted to present this new evidence to the court multiple times but the court would not hear it. Ultimately, the court terminated the parents’ parental rights to their baby because no parent confessed to causing the fractures and the court refused to hear the new medical evidence that explained that the baby experienced bone fragility fractures due to a collagen disorder and that abusive force was not required to fracture her bones. Mark Freeman filed an appeal of the court’s order terminating the parents’ rights to their baby. Mark Freeman was successful in obtaining a reversal of the court’s order terminating the parents’ rights from the appellate court. However, it is always advantageous to hire Mark Freeman as early as possible.
Father took one month-old child to pediatrician for a well visit. Pediatrician noticed four small bruises and told Father to take baby to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for a bleeding evaluation. Whie in the emergency room, the blood pressure cuff caused a bruise on the child’s leg. Child abuse pediatrician, Dr. Adelaide Eichman, ran some screening tests for bleeding disorders that showed normal results. Dr. Eichman declared child had no bleeding disorder that could explain the child’s bruises. The County agency imposed a safety plan that prohibited Father from being alone with his children. Father was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Mother took child for a comprehensive bleeding evaluation where both Mother and child were diagnosed with a mild platelet disorder that explained the child’s bruises. He County dissolved the safety plan and the criminal charges were withdrawn. Mark Freeman filed a civil rights suit against the County Agency and Dr. Eichman.
Grandparents were visiting parents after the birth of their first baby. While Father was at work, baby kicked out of his caregiver’s arms, hit his head on the TV table on the way to hitting the floor. Baby was quiet for a minute, and then started crying. Mother called the pediatrician who recommended she take the baby to the hospital where a head CT revealed a subdural hemorrhage. Baby also had retinal hemorrhages. Child abuse doctor, Gladibel Medina, claimed the short fall described by all three caregivers who were present in the apartment, could not have caused the injury. The baby was removed from the parent’s custody. Father retained Mark Freeman who reviewed the medical records and retained the appropriate experts and filed motions to have the child returned to the parents. The child had a medical condition that predisposed the child to be susceptible to subdural and retinal hemorrhage as a result of the short accidental fall described by the caregivers. The County agency withdrew their petition and the child was returned to the parents. No criminal charges were filed. Mark Freeman sued Dr. Medina on behalf of the parents.
A three year-old child had repeated episodes of unexplained bruising, culminating in a bruise on the child’s ear that was blamed on the Mother’s boyfriend. Child was removed from Mother’s custody and Mother’s boyfriend was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. After consulting with Mark Freeman, Mother took child for a bleeding disorder workup that discovered Mother and child had vonWillebrands disease. Child was returned to Mother, criminal charges were withdrawn and the child abuse registry report was withdrawn. Mark Freeman sued the County agency and doctors involved.
Mother took child to pediatrician for a 2-month well visit. Pediatrician observed child to have retinal hemorrhages and sent Mother with child to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. A Head CT revealed a subdural hemorrhage and retinal hemorrhages were confirmed. The child safety team, headed by Dr. Kathryn Crowell rendered an opinion that the child had been abused. The County agency imposed a safety plan for nine months after which the safety plan was dissolved and the child returned to the parents care. Mark Freeman filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the parents.
A father was watching his four-month old son who was sleeping most of the day. In the evening parents gave the baby pedialyte, and when the baby began spitting up parents took the baby to the hospital. The baby had no bruises or any external signs of trauma. A head CT showed a small amount of acute subdural hemorrhage, and a large chronic subdural fluid collection. An eye exam showed no retinal hemorrhages and an abdominal CT scan showed no abnormalities. After a surgical procedure to drain the large chromic fluid collection, the baby’s eyes were dilated and there was retinal hemorrhaging in all four quadrants extending to the periphery. A skeletal survey was performed that reported no fractures. The mother tested deficient in vitamin D. The baby was discharged from the hospital within a few days.
The child abuse expert, Dr. Paul Bellino, claimed the baby had been the victim of abusive head trauma and shaken baby syndrome calling the chronic subdural fluid collection “chronic subdural hemorrhage” that was purportedly due to prior episodes of shaking. The father was arrested and forced to leave the family home to “protect” the children. The father retained Mark Freeman who reviewed the medical records and consulted with the appropriate experts who found the baby was afflicted with medical conditions that explained all of the medical findings. The family court dismissed the dependency petition after hearing the testimony of the child abuse doctor, and the ophthalmologist. The prosecutor hired Dr. Alex Levin, a prominent shaken baby hypothesis proponent, to write a report and testify against Father in the criminal case. After Dr. Levin wrote his report, Mark Freeman filed motions to disqualify the prosecutor and to dismiss the criminal charges. The prosecutor stepped aside and the criminal case was assumed by Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office dismissed the charges against the Father. Mark Freeman successfully litigated the ChildLine child abuse registry resulting in expungement of the report. Mark Freeman successfully sued the County agency for violating the family’s right to due process resulting in a significant award for the Mother. This lawsuit was cited by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare as a basis to change their policy regarding safety plans.
Father was watching six month-old son when child bumped his head on the floor, started to cry and then went limp. Parents rushed child to the local hospital which transferred child to Penn State Hershey Medical Center. A Head CT showed subdural hemorrhage and child had retinal hemorrhages. The County agency imposed a safety plan in which parents gave children to grandmother and only had limited supervised visitation with their children. The County agency later filed a dependency petition. Parents retained Mark Freeman who reviewed the medical records and retained the appropriate medical experts who identified a medical condition that accounted for the child’s subdural and retinal hemorrhages. The County agency dissolved the safety plan, withdrew the dependency petition and returned the children to the parents’ custody. Mr. Freman sued the County agency on behalf of the parents. This lawsuit was cited by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare as a basis to change their policy regarding safety plans.
Father was watching his 4 month-old child when she suffered a stroke, a clotted cerebral veins, causing her to experience seizures. Parents rushed child to the hospital which transferred her to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The child had subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage and multiple healing rib fractures. The child safety team headed by child abuse doctor, Kathryn Crowell, ignored the child’s clotted cerebral veins and claimed the child’s subdural hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages and healing rib fractures were due to child abuse. The children were removed from the parents custody and placed in foster care and Father was arrested and incarcerated pending trial.
Mother retained Mark Freeman who reviewed the medical records and obtained the appropriate experts. Upon the recommendation of the medical experts, testing revealed child had medical conditions that explained the subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage and rib fractures. The children were returned to Mother. Mark Freeman defended Father in the criminal proceedings that resulted in Father’s complete acquittal of all criminal charges by a jury. Mark Freeman filed a civil rights lawsuit against the County agency and doctors on the child safety team.
Father took 2 month old child upstairs to change the baby’s diaper. Baby momentarily went limp, and Father called Mother to come upstairs and see. By the time Mother got upstairs, baby appeared normal. Baby was lethargic over the next day so Parents took baby to the local hospital where a Head CT showed baby had a subdural hemorrhage. Baby was transferred to A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children. Baby also had multiple healing rib fractures. Dr. Alan DeJong, the child abuse doctor, diagnosed the child’s injuries to have caused by abuse. Child was removed from the parents’ custody and Father was arrested at the hospital. Parents retained Mark Freeman who reviewed the medical records and retained the appropriate medical experts. Baby had experienced a traumatic birth and suffered from vitamin d deficiency. Mark Freeman litigated the family court dependency after which the dependency petition was dismissed by the Court after which the baby was returned immediately to the parents. Subsequently the criminal charges and the ChildLine child abuse registry report were dismissed. Mark Freeman filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the parents.