During late February, a Chandler, Arizona couple had their house raided by police after they refused to take their 2-year old, unvaccinated son, Heber, to a local hospital for examination due to their physician suspecting the toddler had meningitis.
According to The New York Times, Brooks Bryce and Sarah Beck took their son to a clinic where he was running a fever over 100 degrees. The couple were instructed at the clinic and even by Heber’s doctor (a homeopath) to take their son to an emergency room in which the symptoms the child had matched that of meningitis.
A short time after, the couple contacted the doctor saying Heber’s fever was down and was acting fine. The doctor attempted multiple times to call Brooks Bryce and Sarah Beck but got no response. He then called Arizona’s Department of Child Safety who contacted Chandler police.
Chandler police attempted to conduct a welfare check of the couple’s son at their home but were told by his parents he was fine and were refused entry after multiple attempts. An emergency search warrant was issued and police then raided the home, taking possession not only of Heber but the couple’s other children too. Both adults were charged with child abuse and will now have to go through multiple legal hoops to get custody of their kids back.
Fortunately, the couple’s son had only a respiratory infection and, according to health experts interviewed by The Times, instances like this do not happen often but there are times they do. Sadly, it can result in parents losing custody of their child or children depending on the circumstances. In this case, Brooks Bryce and Sarah Beck refused potentially life saving care for their son and, worst of all, did not vaccinate him and their other kids.
There was controversy surrounding the police’s actions, but what it comes down to is the rights of the child come before the rights of the parent and it is people’s rights that the police exist to defend. If the parents do not or will not provide life saving care for their children, as a rights-defending agency, the state has an obligation to remove the kids from that situation or render life-saving care if needed. If any of us were children or were incapacitated as adults and our caretakers refused to have life-saving care administered, no doubt you would want someone to save you too.
When it comes to dealing with illness, doctors also have strict protocols to follow, especially when it comes to children. In many ways, President Obama’s healthcare plan can be blamed for putting even more requirements on doctors to follow regardless of what insurance plan you have.
Aside from their error in judgement, no doubt Brooks Bryce and Sarah Beck are loving, responsible parents. But they chose not to vaccinate their children and, as a result of even refusing to follow their doctor’s instruction, they made their situation much worse. Hopefully, both parents learned from their mistakes and get custody of their children soon.
PHOTO CREDIT: Wikimedia