A Virginia homeschool family has filed suit after a social worker allegedly concocted a false medical diagnosis that government bureaucrats used to take away their children.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is defending Lane Funkhauser and Susan Parker, and their children, whose names were redacted in the copy of the lawsuit released to WND.
Named as defendants are Michael Austin, Brittany Utterback, Jennifer Wimer and Amanda Judd, all social services workers in Clarke and Shenandoah counties in Virginia. Also named are employees of the Henry & William Evans Home for Children, Laura Regan, Mike and Winona Powers and Brent and Missy Rudolph.
HSLDA said all four family members were suffering health problems, making attendance at public school difficult. The parents decided to homeschool their two children and sent the public district appropriate notice.
School officials filed truancy charges, which were dismissed quickly. But in the process, social worker Michael Austin of the Clarke County Social Services agency intervened.
“Austin is not a doctor. He is not a nurse. He is not a psychologist. He is not a medical professional of any stripe,” HSLDA said. “But Austin determined that Susan was suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. This outdated term refers to a psychological disorder in which a parent contends that her child is ill to draw attention to herself. It is extremely rare, and it requires a proper diagnosis by a qualified professional.”
The diagnosis also was wrong, HSLDA said.
“There’s one thing we know for sure about this case: laboratory results showed that the children were actually sick with difficult-to-treat illnesses, and it was not the result of Munchausen by Proxy,” HSLDA said.
The family had already discovered with the help of a physician that the children “had a combination of strep, a parasite, and a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) – a condition that kills over 14,000 Americans each year.”
“There were positive lab results showing that the children had C. diff. And the doctor prescribed treatment for the children for these illnesses,” said HSLDA, the world’s most prominent homeschool advocacy group.
Directed to the hospital for services, the family went to Rockingham Memorial, where they were treated. But Austin also had shared his “Munchausen theory” with the hospital and social services.
“Frankly, the hospital staff should have known better. They had a diagnosis from a licensed doctor and valid lab results. But they listened instead to an inventive social worker who was utterly unqualified to be making a diagnosis of any kind,” HSLDA said.
Written by BOB UNRUH
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