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Home Lawsuit Parents who were wrongly accused of child abuse due to a misdiagnosis are suing the hospital, doctor, and child welfare agents after their children were taken away for months

Parents who were wrongly accused of child abuse due to a misdiagnosis are suing the hospital, doctor, and child welfare agents after their children were taken away for months


“The lawsuit stems from a random investigation of child abuse, the unjustified search and confiscation of JT and KT, and the illegal removal and ongoing retention of JT and KT.”

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Lorina Bourne, on the left; and Jason Troy, on the right, with their two children in a local news screenshot

Lorina Bourne and Jason Troy are pictured holding their sons in an undated photo. (Lorina Bourne via KXAN)

An investigation into child welfare was flawed from the beginning and became careless as it continued. However, the adults involved in the bureaucratic nightmare were eventually found not guilty of any wrongdoing. They are now taking legal action against state agents and medical professionals in a 14-count federal lawsuit. Texas Parents who lost custody of their two children for five months due to a hospital's alleged misdiagnosis are now fighting back against state agents and medical professionals in a 14-count federal lawsuit. lawsuit.

Lorina Bourne and Jason Troy, along with their minor children, are accusing several members of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) of various Fourth Amendment and other constitutional violations. The parents are also suing a doctor and the hospital where she worked for alleged negligence related to inaccurate and incomplete medical charts. child abuse The lawsuit filed in late April alleges that the investigation into child abuse was arbitrary, and that JT and KT were unlawfully taken away from their parents even after any reason for their removal was gone.

This lawsuit arises from an arbitrary investigation of child abuse, the unreasonable search and seizure of JT and KT, and the unlawful removal and continued withholding of JT and KT from their parents long after any probable cause for their removal dissipated. Jason and Lorina are caring parents who never abused or neglected JT or KT.

On New Year's Eve in 2014, JT was born with a head size in the 95th percentile. At a two-week check-up, his head size remained the same, but by May 2015, it had increased to the 99th percentile.

The boy has since been diagnosed with benign external hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid accumulates between the brain and the inner skull. The cause of the condition is unknown but is believed to be linked to birth complications, according to the lawsuit.

JT's birth records indicate that he was born with a collection of blood between his scalp and skull, which was caused by birth-related trauma.

Less than a week after his third head measurement, Bourne and Troy took JT to Dell Children's Hospital in Austin. There, Bourne was approached by DPFS agent James Guyton, who identified himself as a caseworker and demanded their cooperation with an investigation into their son's head injury.

A doctor at the hospital, who has a contractual relationship with the state of Texas, had reportedly concluded that JT was a victim of shaken baby syndrome. The family claims they were unaware that the doctor in question was working at the hospital to represent the state.

Guyton told Lorina and Jason that they must sign a safety plan and threatened to immediately remove their children if they did not comply. Under duress, the couple signed the safety plan to prevent their children from being taken away.

Despite the fact that JT’s older brother was questioned and no evidence was found that the parents ever shook their children, DFPS allegedly insisted on the safety plan.

According to the 30-day plan, the father of two was made to leave the family’s home by the state. Also, the mother had to be supervised by another adult at all times when she was with her children. Bourne and Troy followed the plan, the lawsuit says, and “complied with the safety plan.

When the state’s authority ended in mid-June 2015, and the family received no communication from the state about any said violation or a continuation of the plan, the family “believed their unfortunate experience with DFPS had come to an end,” according to the lawsuit.

It had not.

However, “out of caution,” the parents informed DFPS through their lawyer that they were taking the kids out of state to visit family in Oklahoma, the lawsuit says. Then, in July 2015, two DFPS agents tried to carry out a surprise visit at the family’s home in Elgin, a small suburb about 25 miles east of Austin.

According to the lawsuit, those two agents did not believe that the family had gone on vacation or that JT was healthy after a recent checkup at a hospital in Oklahoma, as Bourne told them over the phone.

As a result, the DFPS attempted to have Oklahoma University Hospital take protective custody of the boy, but the hospital refused.

Subsequently, Texas DFPS persuaded Oklahoma child welfare authorities to conduct their own investigation — which they did. This follow-up investigation led to a literal clean bill of health for JT and a figurative clean bill of health for his parents, as abuse accusations were “unsubstantiated,” the lawsuit says.

However, Texas DFPS continued with its investigation.

Two Texas child welfare agents, mentioned in the lawsuit as Bridgette Hughes and Jennifer Evans, then obtained a court order that allowed the removal of JT and his older brother from their parents’ custody, according to the lawsuit.

“Ms. Evans and Ms. Hughes went across state lines into Oklahoma,” the filing reads. “They appeared where Lorina was visiting with family in Oklahoma, and Ms. Evans and Ms. Hughes took the children from their parents and loving family. Before the removal of JT and KT, Lorina made JT’s medical records available to Ms. Evans and Ms. Hughes.”

As the lawsuit explains, the parents lost their children to a series of foster homes from July 20, 2015, to Dec. 21, 2015.

To worsen the situation, the filing claims that two other DFPS agents repeatedly disregarded the parents when they gave the state familial options to foster care — despite the Lone Star State’s legal presumption of keeping children with family if possible.

After being compelled to sell their house to manage increasing legal expenses, a Travis County court ruled in the family’s favor and returned custody to the parents.

The lawsuit demands compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, interest, and a declaratory judgment requiring the hospital to correct JT’s medical charts and remove all references to “neglect” and “abuse.”

Law&Crime contacted Ascension, the Catholic health system in charge of Dell Children’s Medical Center, but did not receive a response at the time the article was published.

A representative for the Austin branch of DFPS declined to comment on the ongoing legal case.

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