Hospital move cost Coquitlam dad custody rights
Linda Martel and her one-month old daughter Naveh at B.C. Childrens' hospital Monday. The child's father has been told he must pass a drug test before seeing the girl again after leaving one hospital with the infant to take her to another because he was unhappy with the care. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
A Coquitlam father who said he’s no longer using substances alleges he’s being unfairly targeted after being ordered to take a drug test before he can see his one-month old daughter again.
Shawn Willard said he’s willing to take the test but alleged the Ministry of Children and Family development is trying to bully him because he left one hospital after being dissatisfied with the care. He later took his daughter to B.C. Children’s Hospital.
On Sunday morning, Willard said his daughter began choking and seemingly going into convulsions so he called 911. He gave his daughter mouth to mouth under an operator’s instruction.
Paramedics later arrived and took the baby to Royal Columbian Hospital where Willard said doctors told him his daughter had choked. He said he was afraid the child had a seizure and was concerned doctors hadn’t tested for it.
“For the first hour we were standing in the ambulance area, we weren’t even offered a chair,” said Willard, pointing out the newborn had colour in her cheeks and was getting back to normal. “We were standing there with our baby, our baby was crying.”
He said after being checked four times by nurses as they waited in a small room over seven hours he’d had enough and took his daughter and her mother, Linda Martel, to BCCH, pushing through hospital personnel wanting him to stay.
While on the way to the second hospital, alleged Willard, a Children and Family Development employee phoned him and warned if he didn’t take the infant back to RCH the ministry would follow up the situation and possibly remove the child. Willard declined and continued to BCCH.
On Monday afternoon Willard, an admitted former crystal meth user on methadone and medical marijuana, said after meeting with someone from the ministry he was told he’d have to do a drug test before he could see his child again.
“I’m happy to do the urine test,” he said, explaining he did plan to do it as soon as possible. “I can’t take this anymore.”
He added he felt the ministry overreacted to his actions.
Child and Family Development won’t comment on specific cases, but Willard said the ministry employees had visited his home a few days after the girl’s birth and didn’t remove the child.