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Mom of conjoined twin banned from seeing baby

Posted: 1:20 PM, Jan 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-06 09:36:11-05

The Minnesota mom who traveled to Colorado to have her conjoined twins in August says she has now been banned by Children's Hospital Colorado from seeing the baby girl who survived.

Hannah and Olivia McCullough were delivered by Cesarean section on Aug. 26 at Children's Hospital Colorado.

The girls were connected at the chest, abdomen and pelvis. There was only one pelvis structure with two normally formed legs and one very malformed leg, according to their mom, Amber McCullough.

Olivia died, Hannah (now named Savannah) survived. Over the next few weeks, Amber wrote on her GoFundMe page that there were complications, but "Without Children's Hospital of CO neither of my daughters would have had a chance."

Amber wrote at the time, "They didn't put me off or turn me away contingent on guarantee of payment like most places do. Instead, they told me to just get here and we'd figure it out from there."

However, in mid-December, Amber wrote a lengthy update about a procedure done in November that Amber said went wrong.

"I was terrified and felt like everything was going wrong because it was," Amber wrote. "I had to stand there unheard, blown off, and terrified while my daughter bleed (sic) profusely from her jugular."

Amber went on to say, "I said I was concerned with how long it took to call surgery. I said I was concerned with our sense of urgency. The charge nurse took great offense to my concerns and was incredibly rude."

"I thought I was watching my daughter die, that she wasn’t going to make it," Amber wrote.

Amber said she filed complaints with the Joint Commission and the Department of Health.

"I just wanted to be heard, have the matter looked into, and assured it would never happen again, that calling a doctor when necessary will not be delayed like that again," Amber wrote.

Amber said she also complained to the nurse administrator and "the very next business day the administration restricted my access to my daughter to two hours a day. Their rationale was that my nurses are afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of me and being sued and that that caused them to not want to work with my daughter thus impeding her care. The hospital went on to say they thought I was disrupting rounds."

Amber said after meeting with the nurse administrator she was allowed three hours a day with her daughter.

Amber wrote in that December update that she wanted to move her daughter to Seattle and she had "hired two attorneys. I have an attorney that handles all of the civil litigation/malpractice/health law issues and an attorney to handle the family law issues."

On Tuesday, Amber posted she is no longer allowed to see her daughter at all.

"I am currently not allowed to see my daughter at all as a result of their retaliation and lies," Amber wrote. "I have proof of their lies as I wised up some time ago not to step foot in that place without a recorder in my bra. I am also currently suing them over the retaliation as it violate, patient right, parental rights, (sic) Joint Commission rules, the patient care act, and others. Suing them is about holding them accountable and having a voice for parents. Clearly, we do not have enough protections in place for patients and parents. That is, easily enforceable protections. This needs to change."

Amber also said she is now trying to move her daughter to Boston Children's Hospital and she is trying to raise $19,267 for the transportation .

Denver7 contacted Children's Hospital Colorado for their response. The hospital sent Denver7 this statement:

Children’s Hospital Colorado is committed to providing the best care possible to our patients and families.

It is the hospital’s policy to refrain from discussing matters when a patient or patient family member has filed a Notice of Claim, notifying the hospital of an intent to sue. With respect to the privacy of the patient and family and in compliance with HIPAA privacy regulations, Children’s Hospital Colorado is not able to release any information concerning this patient, but we can share:

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado greatly values our patients’ parents and/or legal guardians and sees them as partners in their child’s care, which is why we are committed to providing family-centered care. We value their input, perspective and see it as vital to delivering the best outcomes for our patients. However, if a parent is disruptive to our nurses and care providers or interrupts direct patient care, their actions can jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of their own child, as well as the care of the other medically-fragile patients in the unit. This is not acceptable, and we will take action.
  • There are times Behavioral Agreements are created to provide structure and support to families and treatment teams to foster healthy, cohesive teamwork during times of crisis and stress. In rare instances, where a parent and/or legal guardian’s actions deliberately violate an agreed-upon Behavioral Agreement and compromise the healthcare teams’ ability to provide care for the patients of Children’s Hospital Colorado, the hospital places the patients’ well-being and safety first, and will take measures to ensure that well-being and safety remains the focal point. Repeated violations can lead to restricted visitation.
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado does not take any actions in a retaliatory manner. All of our actions are clinically-based and in the best interest of our patients/families.  
  • Children’s hospitals are unique in that we constantly share best practices and work collaboratively with patient families and other top facilities to ensure our patients are getting the best care they deserve. There are many complex factors involved in a patient transfer, including safe transportation, insurance verification, availability and approval from the receiving hospital, etc., all of which can be a lengthy process and many parts of it not completely in control of the transferring institution, such as Children’s Hospital Colorado.

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