Mom sues hospital that allegedly diagnosed birthmark as sign of child abuse

Doctors performed an unnecessary head CT and bone scan on the baby to support their claims, the lawsuit claims

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A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging a Chicago-area medical center called a child protection agency under the assumption a harmless birthmark was an indication of child abuse, and she says race played a factor.

Jillian Robinson took her son to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, in April 2021 because of a mark on the back of the ear of her 10-month-old son, J.R.

However, over the course of what the lawsuit calls “a more than 24-hour traumatic ordeal,” Robinson and her attorney say hospital staff assumed the little boy had been abused and made that conclusion because Robinson is Black.

The lawsuit also claims the hospital subjected J.R. to medically unnecessary tests including head CT, bone scans and laboratory work. Moreover, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services threatened to take her son, “forcibly if necessary,” according to the complaint.

As it turned out, the discoloration was a birthmark, the lawsuit says.

Advocate Christ Medical Center via YouTube

“ACMC and its staff made false assumptions about Ms. Robinson based on her race,” the lawsuit claims.” Based solely on those assumptions and before conducting a medical examination to confirm, ACMC and its staff jumped to the conclusion that the mark was an intentionally inflicted injury by Ms. Robinson and initiated complaint proceedings against her with” the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Advocate Christ, in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, said: “Our top priority is to provide the safest, highest quality and equitable care to every patient. We take all concerns seriously and are thoroughly reviewing the complaint, which we just recently received.”

Robinson filed the lawsuit April 20, 2022, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The lawsuit also claims Robinson was subject to “racist and offensive” comments by staff.

“Additionally, throughout the hospital stay, Ms. Robinson was subjected to invasive, race-based comments from a number of staff who repeatedly commented on J.R.’s curly hair and how “fair-skinned” he was and asked questions about his father, including, but not limited to, such questions from the healthcare worker accompanying Ms. Robinson during J.R.’s bone scan, the lawsuit claims.

“Ms. Robinson, who is darker skinned than her son, experienced these comments as not only racist and offensive but also as micro-aggressive challenges to her parentage of her child,” the complaint states.

Additionally, the lawsuit says family services officials insisted Robinson agree to a “safety plan” in which she would have to send her son to live with a relative who could pass a background check. Family services modified the plan to allow Robinson to stay with her son at her uncle’s house.

The lawsuit notes that subsequent medical examinations showed no signs of abuse, and family services terminated the safety plan on May 6, 2021.

Robinson, in remarks to the Tribune, said “To say I was blindsided is an understatement. I was made to feel like I was crazy. Everything that was being said to me was against rational, logical thought, from my point of view.”

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