So much has happened in the last 9 months. It's hard to know where to begin! I hope I remember to add it all!!!
Last August, I was able to finally obtain a 2nd opinion in Ellie's case. The head of pediatric neurology at Loyola looked through Ellie's medical records. He determined that her tiny brain bleed was likely caused by birth trauma. He was absolutely on board with helping me out.
After we obtained the second opinion, I was scheduled to begin my adjudication hearing in juvenile court. The day that the hearing was set to begin, the state's attorney presented me with a plea. He would remove all allegations related to head injuries of I agreed to an adjudication based on medical neglect. Where they came up with medical neglect was that they believed that when Ellie's legs tremored in the newborn period, I should have taken her to the ER instead of the pediatrician. This was a very difficult decision for me to make. I ended up agreeing. Even though the charge was absurd, it meant my daughter would be home very soon. As soon as we put things in motion for the negotiated finding, I was able to have overnight visits with Ellie! It was wonderful!!! I loved being the last person to kiss her goodnight and the first to hug her in the morning. Within 1 month, I received the best news in the previous 14 months...Ellie was returned to my custody!!! She was ripped from my arms on October 17, 2010 and returned on December 3, 2011. After she was returned home, I was visited by our case worker weekly for the first 2 months, then biweekly, then monthly. On May 2, 2012, I regained guardianship. DCFS could be out of my life, forever!
In the time between adjudication and the return of guardianship, I was able to finally get my day in court. I was able to appeal the DCFS indicated finding of head injuries. You see, even though the juvenile court in Illinois dropped the head injury allegation, DCFS did not. The hearing took two full days for testimony. On March 2, the DCFS doctor (Dr. Petrak) and my expert both testified. Dr. Petrak told the judge that Ellie's brain bleed could only have occurred by non-accidental head trauma. I would like to mention that she admitted during her testimony that she failed her boards in the child abuse specialty. She also lied on the stand. She said that she had NEVER been proven wrong before by a 2nd opinion. (this was later proven by looking at the Wiedner case, which was publicized in the Pekin Daily Times). It was then time for my expert to testify. He is the head of pediatric neurology at Loyola. He stated that Ellie's bleed is very consistent w birth injuries, especially since she was only 5 weeks old. He also testified that she likely never even had a seizure, but rather benign myclonus of sleep and drowsiness. The testimony of the doctors was all we had time for that day. The hearing concluded one month later. On April 2, the DCFS investigator testified, my mom testified, Ellie's pediatrician testified and I testified. At the conclusion of the testimony, I was told that I would hear the result in about 45 days. On May 17, I did get that result. I was finally vindicated. My indicated finding was overturned. My DCFS record was expunged. I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!