For any truly loving and devoted parent, losing custody of a child produces the most intense emotional pain one can imagine. Short of that child losing his/her life or encountering a potentially life-threatening illness, the mere idea of being stripped of the rights to raise your child is an incomparable unbearable agony. Just ask any parent who has had the misfortune of enduring a custody battle.
With that said, it can be said that any tactics used to unjustly strip a parent of his/her rights to his/her child are cruel and criminal acts. And any “medical evidence” used to support the unjust stripping of a parents rights could then be considered medical misconduct. Enter the story of Yvonne Marchand, who, in 2012, lost custody of her daughter thanks to lab results that confirmed that she was a raging alcoholic.
As reported by Tess Owen of Vice News, a hair test conducted by the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory in Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital found that Marchand had been drinking upwards of an astonishing 48 alcoholic beverages a day over the course of three months! Now, if you’re wondering how in the world such drinking could be possible without resulting in death, you’re not alone.
Marchand, who has long insisted upon her innocence, couldn’t figure out how such a conclusion was drawn. “If you do the math, I would have died drinking that much. There’s no way I could function,” she was quoted as saying. With the results of the lab test having such high stakes, it’s curious why further tests weren’t performed. The findings are, undoubtedly, shocking and hard to believe.
Motherisk’s testing has come into question before, Owen notes. And, sadly, it has affected the lives of “scores of Canadians”. In fact, approximately 16,000 child protection cases have sought the use of Motherisk testing to evaluate the medical conditions of parents. And while Owen states that it is unknown just how many of those test results were questionable, Motherisk continues to be sought-after to help provide medical proof.
“Since its inception in 1985, Motherisk’s purpose was to conduct research and teach the medical community and general public about potential dangers posed to a fetus or infant from exposure to drugs, chemicals, diseases, radiation and environmental agents,” explains Owen, “By the late 1990’s, increasing numbers of child protection agencies were approaching Motherisk with requests to test hair samples, looking to prove that parents were impaired by drugs or alcohol.”
The lab, however, has come under scrutiny before. In November 2014, Tamara Broomsfield of Toronto was exonerated from a 2009 conviction that stemmed from allegations she fed cocaine to her two-year-old son. Lab tests from independent labs had contradicted findings from Motherisk’s test results. This led to a Toronto Star-launched investigation of Motherisk which prompted the Province of Ontario to take notice.
“The investigation arrived at damning conclusions,” reports Owen, “The 366-page report…concluded that results from Motherisk hair tests, like Marchand’s, were ‘inadequate’, ‘unreliable’, and had ‘serious implications for the fairness of those proceedings.’” Consequently, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies announced that up to 300 adoption cases would be put on hold while cases involving Motherisk hair testing were being reviewed.
At present, Marchand is only seeing her daughter for a grand total of six hours a week. Her ex-husband still has custody, but she is granted minimal visitation. Such instances of the medical misconduct that created this situation are simply sickening. There’s no clearer way to put it. The team of clinical experts, here at Allegiant Experts, is committed to helping attorneys who are representing patients who have suffered due to medical misconduct.
To learn more about our clinical expert services and/or our experiences with hospital and medical malpractice cases, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-217-5831.