Written by JoNina Abron-Ervin and edited by Brianna Burton, members of the Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism & Police Brutality
It is always said that babies,regardless of race, are born innocent, and should not have any racist legal or political standards applied to them. But this is not the case with black children and those of interracial couples. They are treated as criminals by the state and its police.
Your help is urgently needed to protest the use of armed security guards who threatened Kelly Stone, a new mother, at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, Ill. The baby’s father LeMar DeBooth, is a personal friend of mine and a comrade in the Black Autonomy Federation. Below is a complaint letter that we are asking everyone to email. Please feel free to reword the letter according to your own writing style. It should be sent to:
Also, on Monday, you may call the medical center’s patient relations representative, Rose Cosme, at (773)296-8217.
To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to my attention that on July 11, armed guards at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center threatened Kelly Stone, who at the time was a patient at the medical center.
According to my information, these are the events leading up to this incident:
On July 8, Ms Stone gave birth to a male infant at the medical center. The baby was delivered by Cesarean section. After his birth, Ms. Stone and the father of the baby, Bondi LeMar DeBooth, verbally told nurses that they wanted to set up a breast feeding schedule for their son. Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth subsequently saw a nurse feeding formula milk to their son off the schedule. When they voiced their objections to the disruption of the feeding schedule, they said a medical center employee threatened to place their son in protective custody. Thereafter, Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth were were no longer allowed to be alone with their son, according to Mr. DeBooth. They were “chaperoned” at all times by medical center staff and made to feel like criminals.
On July 10, Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth filed a complaint with Rose Cosme, the medical center’s patient relations representative. The complaint charged the medical center with economic and racial discrimination. Ms. Stone, who is white, and Mr. DeBooth, who is black, are poor people.
Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth were told that their baby’s blood sugar was low. The baby was then moved to an infirmary so he could be treated. Later, while holding his son, Mr. DeBooth saw a scratch on his baby that he had not previously noticed. He asked a nurse about the cause of the scratch. The nurse said that the baby could not have scratched himself. Fearing that their son had been injured by someone on the medical center’s staff, Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth decided to file a new complaint with the patient relations representative on July 11.
While trying to leave the room in which Ms. Stone was recuperating from the surgical wounds of her C-Section, armed security guards stopped them. Afraid that Ms. Stone might be shot and killed, Mr. DeBooth stepped between her and the guards in order to protect her. When they asked why they could not leave the room to file their complaint, Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth were told by the security guards that they were not allowed to give the reason.
A social worker told Ms. Stone and Mr. DeBooth that in order for their son to be released to their care, the social worker would first have to inspect their home. This inspection could not occur until July 14 at the earliest, meaning that the baby would have to stay at the medical center at least until this date.
Under federal law, women who have C-sections are entitled to remain hospitalized for 96 hours, which would have allowed Ms. Stone to remain a patient until July 12. A patient can ask for earlier release by signing a form, which states that the patient understands that she is asking to be released before the recommended time. On July 11, Ms. Stone signed a form asking to be released from the medical center. She did so after a member of the medical center told her that by signing the form, she and Mr. DeBooth would be given a room, equipped with beds, in which they could stay with their baby over the weekend while waiting for the social worker’s inspection of their home. However, the room given to them did not have any beds. Did the medical center staff member deliberately lie to Ms. Stone?
Under the federal Patient Bill of Rights, a patient’s request for early release is not valid if the patient signed the request under duress. Based on what I have learned, I believe that Ms. Stone signed the request for release under extreme duress. This is illegal and unethical, and voids any “release form” by the hospital.
I believe that the medical center has committed major violations of Ms. Stone’s patient rights and the rights of Mr. DeBooth, the father of their son. If they were both white and middle class, I do not believe they would been mistreated. This was administrative racism. I am asking the medical center to conduct a complete investigation of this matter, and am sending a copy of this letter to the regulatory body for medical institutions, The Joint Commission and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
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