Illinois Parents Sue Doctors, Hospitals, and DCFS for Medical Kidnapping After Refusing Vitamin K Shot at Birth
In the moments after Angela Bougher gave birth last winter, she and her husband, a suburban Chicago pastor, were eager to hold their new baby girl.
But as Bougher was being treated in the delivery room, the couple contends, a nurse picked up the infant to administer a vitamin K shot, a common practice in maternity wards across the country to help a baby’s blood-clotting ability in case of emergency.
The Boughers said they are not “anti-vaxxers” or against any procedure they believe to be medically necessary, but they didn’t think the shot was in that category. They had agreed to sign a waiver confirming their wishes that the new baby — their fifth child — not receive vitamin K, based on their beliefs that God’s creation isn’t automatically deficient or flawed at birth.
But instead of offering them a form, the Boughers allege, the nurse announced she was reporting the couple to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and left the room with the newborn. It would be about 12 hours before they got the child back, the couple said.
“I honestly could not understand what was going on,” Angela Bougher said through tears in a recent interview. “I was in total shock. I’ve never not had my baby right away.”
On Monday, the Boughers and several other parents filed a sweeping federal lawsuit accusing the agency, its current and former leaders, a number of doctors and three hospitals of violating their constitutional rights just after the births of their children. Hours that should have been filled with happiness and family photos were instead filled with uncertainty, they said, as children were temporarily taken into protective custody, DCFS caseworkers were called and the parents were made to feel like criminals.