Alex and Anna Nikolayev are the proud parents of a five month old son named Sammy. It is their first child and like many first time parents, they have been over cautious and protective of little Sammy, especially since he was born with a heart murmur. From the time of Sammy’s birth, they have been taking him to see doctors including a cardiologist to monitor his condition. They have kept every well-baby appointment made for Sammy, many of those appointments were with the doctors and staff at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento.
Not all of those appointments at Sutter have gone well. Anna described one visit there when a nurse came in and administered antibiotics to Sammy. When she asked the nurse what the antibiotics were for, the nurse said she had no idea. A doctor later told Anna that Sammy should not have been given the antibiotics. This was one of two visits to Sutter where Anna said Sammy was not treated correctly and caused her to start being concerned about them.
Even with her concerns, Anna took Sammy back to Sutter a couple of weeks ago when he displayed flu-like symptoms. After the initial treatment for the flu-like illness, Sammy was admitted to the pediatric ICU so they could monitor his condition and his heart. According to Anna, several days after Sammy was admitted to the ICU, the doctors began to discuss the possibility of having to perform heart surgery on Sammy.
Anna decided that she wanted a second opinion from a different doctor at a different hospital. This is what people are advised to do all the time, to get a second opinion. But in this case, it was very important for Anna to get the second opinion because of the other mistakes that the hospital had made. She later stated:
“If we got the one mistake after another, I don’t want to have my baby have surgery in the hospital where I don’t feel safe.”
Anna then immediately took Sammy out of Sutter Memorial Hospital and took him to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center to get a second opinion. While at the hospital, the police showed up and insisted on seeing Anna and Sammy. They told Anna that they had received a report from Sutter Memorial Hospital that Sammy’s health was in danger.
The doctor who saw Sammy at Kaiser said that he was safe to go home with his parents and that the baby was in no danger. After talking to Anna, seeing Sammy smiling and reading the doctor’s report, the police were satisfied and left.
Evidently the doctors and staff at Sutter were offended that Anna wanted to seek a second opinion because the day after the two hospital visits, police and Child Protective Services showed up at their house. Alex met them outside the door and says that the police pushed him against the house and then smacked him down to the ground. The police then opened the door without asking permission and entered the house. Anna, who was frightened to death, turned her camera on to record what was happening. She recorded one of the police officers telling her:
“I’m going to grab your baby, and don’t resist, and don’t fight me ok?”
The policeman took Sammy from them and turned him over to the CPS agent. They told the shocked and frightened parents that they had a report that Sammy had been severely neglected and that an investigation was being launched.
Alex and Anna have retained an attorney to help them sort the whole thing out. Their attorney says that there are absolutely no signs of neglect and that the exact opposite is true. The parents have never missed an appointment and they have the doctor’s records from Kaiser indicating that Sammy was okay to go home and that he was not in any danger.
Anna was allowed to visit Sammy in the hospital for 1 hour since his kidnapping and that visit was supervised. They hope to be able to get everything straightened up with a judge in the next few days, according to their attorney. In the meantime, Anna is a frightened wreck and Alex says that this kind of treatment reminds him of being back in a communist country.
After the first two mistakes or questionable visits at Sutter, I would never have taken Sammy back there to begin with. Their treatment of Sammy reminds me of the shady mechanics who tell you that they need to replace half a dozen parts on your car when you only took it to have an oil change and lube job done. It seems that the doctors were offended that anyone would question their expertise by seeking a second opinion. That kind of treatment and attitude would raise red flags with me and should with anyone else.
We all need to pray for Anna and Alex that this mess can be corrected quickly and little Sammy is returned to his parents, before the doctors have a chance to go ahead with their proposed heart surgery. After all, CPS has assumed legal guardianship of Sammy and if they listen only to the doctors of Sutter, it is in the realm of possibility that CPS could give them permission to go forward with the surgery without the parents’ consent or knowledge.