Doctor loses custody of her daughter until pandemic is over
Dr. Theresa Greene, an emergency room physician in Florida, has temporarily lost shared custody of her four-year-old daughter because of her work saving lives during the coronavirus crisis.
Florida: Dr. Theresa Greene, an emergency room physician in Florida, has temporarily lost shared custody of her four-year-old daughter because of her work saving lives during the coronavirus crisis.
Her ex-husband filed for temporary sole custody of the little girl 'due to mother's significantly heightened exposure to COVID-19' and a judge granted it - even though Greene has tested negative for the deadly virus.
Greene is now facing an impossible and 'cruel' choice between being a mother and her duty as a medic while the US healthcare system buckles under the weight of the pandemic and grapples to find enough healthcare workers to keep COVID-19 patients alive. 'I can't come home and hug my daughter,' the desperate mother told 6 South Florida.
'We're there on the frontline, we're risking our lives and to take our children away from us I just think is so cruel.' Greene said the move is discriminatory against healthcare workers who are divorced or sole carers.
'How can you tell me because I'm divorced that I can't come home - obviously I have to shower - but that I can't come home and hug my daughter,' she said. 'It's really discriminatory against divorced parents and particularly I feel for the children.'
Healthcare professionals across the US are facing unprecedented times, overloaded with sick COVID-19 patients. Hospitals have been likened to war zones with protective gear for heroic workers in short supply and body bags lining the corridors as the death toll from the killer virus soars.
At least 5,400 nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers in the US have been infected by the disease, according to BuzzFeed News.More than 30 have died from the virus, after being infected trying to save others' lives.
Parents like Greene now have other traumatic issues to contend with. 'I feel like the family court system now is stressing me almost more than the virus, I mean this is a very stressful time for healthcare professionals,' Greene said.
The essential worker's daughter split her time equally between her parents until her father Eric Greene filed an emergency order this week asking for sole custody during the pandemic.
Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro granted the request saying it was in the 'best interests' of the child because of the state of the pandemic in Florida.
'In order to protect the best interests of the minor child, including but not limited to the minor child's safety and welfare, this Court temporarily suspends the Former Wife's timesharing until further Order of Court. The suspension is solely related to the outbreak of COVID-19,' he said in the court order.
Greene, who is lodging an appeal, said she was shocked by the decision. 'I was just shocked that the judge would take this stance without talking to medical experts and knowing the facts and take it so lightly, take my child from me and not think of the effect on her, her mental and psychological well-being,' she said.