Danielle kissing her baby Hayden in the hospital. Source: Prayers for Hayden’s Heart Facebook page.
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
It is hard to imagine a mother hearing more difficult words than those Danielle Hines from Riverside, California heard after her ultrasound at 6 1/2 months of pregnancy. Doctors told her that her new baby would be born with a severe heart defect, and they advised her to abort her baby. She refused. There was a lot of love in her heart, and she was determined to meet the challenge, giving everything that she could to help her baby. After all of this, Child Protective Services swooped in and seized her baby before she was even two months old. In Danielle’s words:
CPS removed her from our beautiful home because I have too many children and were fearful I could not care for her due to Hayden having Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Though Danielle was able to regain physical custody, she was told that the state retained medical rights over Hayden. Now, Hayden is gone, and her mother is left asking, “Why?” She truly believes that:
If CPS hadn’t taken my daughter from me, she would still be alive.
She tells Health Impact News that, had they not taken her medical rights away from her, she could have researched medications and procedures and had a voice in decisions that were made. As it was, there appear to have been several medical missteps that could have been avoided, and Hayden might still be alive. The prognosis for babies with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a 70% chance of survival into adulthood. Hayden only lived 4 months, and Danielle believes they were using her baby as a medical guinea pig.
Doctors Told Her Twice to Abort Her Baby
Danielle was 5 weeks along in her pregnancy when she found out that she was expecting her 4th baby. Her oldest 2 children are 12 and 9, and she had given birth to her 3rd child just 6 months before. She says that her doctor recommended that she abort her baby from the very beginning:
You just had a baby 6 months ago. I recommend an abortion. And also because of your postpartum cardio myopathy (heart failure), it’ll just be best to terminate now.
The doctor made the “exceptions” argument, pushing her to have an abortion “for the life of the mother.” Danielle says that wasn’t even an option for her:
Although I knew having Hayden could ultimately end in my demise, I still chose LIFE for my child.
Her choice was again challenged by doctors when she went for an ultrasound appointment when she was 6 1/2 months along. It was the scan to determine if the baby was a boy or a girl, and Danielle was thrilled to see that she was having another daughter.
Danielle was the one who noticed that something wasn’t quite right on the ultrasound. She told the tech that she only saw 3 chambers on the baby’s heart, not 4. When she spoke with the doctor, he told her:
Oh sweetie, your baby has a bad heart. I will get the abortion paperwork started for you. No child should be born with this, it is not conducive for life.
Again, Danielle chose life for her baby, no matter how long that life might be. She sought another opinion, and learned a few days later that the condition affecting her baby was called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.
She was told that her baby may only live 5 hours or 5 days. Regardless, she believed that her baby deserved every chance at life, and that if her baby was going to die, it would be in her arms, knowing she was loved.
Hayden Is Born – “Love at First Sight”
Danielle gave birth to Hayden Nicole Hines-Blake on October 7, 2015. She had her first open heart surgery before she was a week old. Day 14 was the day of the magical moment when Hayden first opened her eyes and saw her Mommy for the first time. It was love at first sight.
Newborn Hayden – Born with a broken heart. Source: Hines family.
Danielle kept a photo journal of her baby’s life, posting daily photos and videos to chronicle Hayden’s life. Despite her physical challenges, Hayden was a happy baby who brought joy to everyone who saw her, both in real life and on social media, where Danielle connected with many people who were praying for her little one’s heart.
Life wasn’t easy, certainly, as a single mom of 4, but Danielle was determined to make it work. Hayden exceeded all initial expectations, and was surviving. Danielle managed to care for all of her children, providing home-cooked meals and keeping up with countless doctors’ appointments. She breastfed Hayden and pumped her milk. There were 17 different medications to keep track of. She organized everything and maintained 2 separate calendars to ensure that she met all the demands of her baby’s health condition.
Danielle took classes and became certified on how to care for the medical needs of her daughter.
Concerned “Friend” Calls CPS Who Takes Away the Baby from Her Mother
Somehow, all that wasn’t enough in the opinion of a a friend of the family who was also a nurse. Instead of offering practical help and support to a mother who had a lot on her plate, this person decided to call Child Protective Services out of “concerns” about Danielle being a single mom.
CPS showed up on her doorstep based on these concerns. While most parents fear that their homes are too messy or cluttered to make social workers happy, the Riverside County, California, social worker allegedly told Danielle Hines that her house was “too clean.” Danielle learned that she had already interviewed her oldest 2 children at school, without her knowledge or permission, asking such questions as, “Does your mother spank you with objects?” (She doesn’t.)
The social worker reportedly decided Hayen could be better cared for in a foster home with a mom and a dad, as opposed to being cared for by her own biological mother with whom she shared a sacred bond, because Danielle was a single mom.
Danielle and baby Hayden. Source: Hines family.
On November 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving, CPS seized custody of Hayden, who was 7 weeks old that day. The other children remained in the home. Hayden was placed in a foster home with a foster mother and father, and 5 children who were all younger than Danielle’s oldest 2 children. Danielle asks:
How dare CPS come in when I’m doing all I can for my daughter?
The warrant for removal states that the “circumstances of the minor’s home environment may endanger the health, person, or welfare of the minor.”
But it wasn’t in her own home that Hayden suffered; it was in the foster home.
Poor Care in Foster Home
The day after Danielle was medically kidnapped, the foster mother’s father died. Though she was somewhat trained in caring for special needs children, her husband was not. Nonetheless, she left Hayden and her children in the care of her husband for days while she drove an hour and a half away to tend to her family issues.
Danielle was horrified at what she says she found when she was able to have a supervised visit with her baby. (The first visit was cancelled by the foster family.) No one had bothered to ask the mother about any allergies, and the foster parents had been applying lotions and creams that Hayden was allergic to. Hayden’s vagina was “swollen, purple and bloody.”
The foster father had also allegedly been feeding spoiled milk to Hayden.
During the visit, Danielle asked about the bottle of room-temperature formula that he was going to give the baby. The diaper bag contained a 24 hour supply of prepared formula. He told her that he mixed up a 24 hour supply at a time each day, but Danielle did not see any type of cooler.
In front of the social worker supervisor, he admitted that he didn’t realize that the formula had to be refrigerated, so the baby had been receiving spoiled milk for the past 5 days.
False Allegations in Court Stating the Mother did not Want Her Baby
According to Danielle, the court hearing a week later was quite bizarre. It is not uncommon for parents to report strange allegations and outright lies against them being used in family court. With parents who report their stories to Health Impact News, this appears to be the rule rather than the exception.
However, in Danielle’s case, the accusations were too absurd to be ignored. Social workers reportedly told the judge that she did not want her son and wanted him placed for adoption because “it was too much to care for him.” (emphasis added)
Judge Returns Child to Mother
Danielle spoke up politely and informed the judge that Hayden is “a beautiful baby girl,” who was very much wanted. (emphasis added)
With that pronouncement combined with the foster parents’ admission of feeding Hayden spoiled milk, the judge immediately placed physical custody of Hayden back with her mother.
Even the judge was confused as to why they took my child.
However, the court allegedly retained medical rights over Hayden. Even though Danielle later was unable to find any documentation of such a decree, doctors and hospital staff made it clear to her that the state had the medical rights, not her.
That is where the real problems began.
Mother Denied Medical Rights
Hayden in the hospital. Source: Prayers for Hayden’s Heart Facebook page.
On the day that Hayden was returned, Danielle discovered that the foster parents had removed the tubing from the G-button feeding tube, even though that was the only way to feed her and administer her medications. This was December 2, the day of the San Bernardino shootings, and there was chaos in the area. By the time they were able to get some tubing, her feeding and medicines were significantly overdue.
No one knew at that time how much time that Hayden would live on this earth. She lived 4 months, 1 week, 2 days, 17 hours, and 40 minutes. Precious time with her family was stolen from them because CPS got involved. Danielle will always wonder how much of an impact the time Hayden spent in foster care had on her life.
The time she was gone could have been spent with us.
Because CPS got involved and did not return medical rights back to Danielle, things progressed very differently than they would have had Danielle been able to have a voice in her daughter’s medical care.
6 Vaccines Injected – Hayden’s Condition Declines
On December 23, doctors injected this baby with an already compromised medical condition with 6 vaccines at once. Danielle was not given the right to refuse. She was afraid that CPS would come after her other children if she fought the mandate.
During December, Danielle says that doctors disregarded things that were concerning to her, such as a bout with bloody diarrhea. She said that she kept taking her baby back to the doctor because her heart did not seem to be functioning properly and her oxygen levels were desaturating.
Once, when Hayden was in Loma Linda University Medical Center, the hospital called CPS to report her when she didn’t want the baby to leave the hospital because she was concerned over Hayden’s oxygen levels.
Hayden’s condition continued to decline, and on December 29, she had a heart attack. Danielle posted a photo of Hayden taken the next day:
Just as happy as she wanted to be. She smiled even through the pain. I love her beyond words. Thank you God for allowing me to meet Hayden. She has made a significant difference in my life.
At one point her oxygen saturation levels were down to 20. Normal is 95 or higher. She underwent 3 balloon procedures, but only 2 of them worked. During surgery her heart stopped, and a defibrillator was used twice to bring her back.
During all this time, doctors changed her medications frequently. Danielle was not permitted to refuse medications for her child, even when they were “trying to see” what works, even with new drugs.
She observed that other children in similar situations, but who were not under CPS control, were not given such a wide variety of drugs, and the medications did not change as frequently. They would not let her consent for life-saving treatments; instead, either the court had to be consulted, or they could obtain the consent of 2 separate physicians. Hayden’s own mother was forbidden the right to give consent or refusal.
Whenever Danielle tried to question the medications or procedures, doctors were quick to remind her that she didn’t have medical rights over her child.
Danielle is still trying to get all of the medical documents, but she believes that they were testing medications and procedures on her baby because the hospital told her that they retained all medical rights.
It is a tragic reality in the United States that children who are wards of the state may be legally used as medical lab rats, and be parts of medical research and drug studies without the parents’ knowledge or consent.
“She’s Just her Mom – She Doesn’t Have Medical Rights”
On Sunday February 7th 2016 @1:26pm…I walked in to see my baby like this. How?! I was just there and she was fine! I wanted to celebrate the 1st day of #CHDawareness [Congenital Heart Defect] week with her, but I couldn’t. Look at this?! I was devastated. This literally was the last footage I captured of Hayden where she was actually still HERE with me (before surgery the next day & Life support).
My baby turned 4 months this day.
Hayden on February 7, 2016. Source: Prayers for Hayden’s Heart Facebook page.
Doctors had taken Hayden in for a catheter procedure, but there were complications. Danielle is still seeking answers for exactly what happened. Because she did not have medical rights, she hasn’t been able to find out exactly what they did to her baby.
The following day, doctors performed open heart surgery on Hayden. As the baby was being wheeled into surgery, Danielle overheard someone say:
She’s just her mom. She doesn’t have medical rights over her.
As she approached Hayden’s room unannounced, she overheard some things said by hospital staff that were alarming. It was shift change, and doctors were giving their report to the next doctors on duty. She overheard a doctor say that the patient’s lungs collapsed because a drainage tube was not properly sealed during the surgery.
Something had certainly gone wrong, and Hayden was on life support. Danielle posted on Facebook that day:
On my LIFE I’d give my LIFE so my baby won’t feel this pain anymore. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Oh God in heaven! Watching them wheel my paralyzed child out just broke every piece of me.
Doctors told the court that they wanted to take Hayden off of life support after 3 days against Danielle’s wishes. The devastated mother wasn’t ready to let her go. Only a few days before, she had been relatively fine, and now they were telling her that her baby wasn’t going to make it.
CPS Dismisses Case – Just Before Death
Danielle called the CPS social worker crying on February 10, telling her that they were killing her baby, and begging for them not to take her daughter off of life support.
The social worker filed an emergency petition with the judge, who ruled to dismiss the case. After everything Danielle had been through at the hands of CPS, the petition stated that there was:
insufficient evidence to substantiate that the mother has failed to adequately care or provide proper medical attention to this baby. The mother has continued to ensure the safety and well being of her child as she has continued to ensure Hayden received consistent and appropriate medical attention to include necessary hospitalizations. …
Therefore, it is respectfully recommended the child remain in the care of the mother, Danielle Hines, and the petition for Dependency be dismissed without prejudice at this time.
The damage was already done, but Danielle was free to leave Hayden on life support in the hopes that she would recover.
On the night of the 11th, something happened and Hayden started bleeding. One of the doctors told her that she may as well say goodbye to Hayden now, because she was bleeding to death. Even so, they were able to get the bleeding under control, and Danielle once again had hope.
Hayden held on until February 16th, and they took her off of life support that morning. Fifteen minutes later, she coded, but they were able to revive her, and her heart was beating on its own. That evening, she crashed again, and doctors repeatedly injected epinephrine directly into her heart over and over.
Finally, Danielle said, “stop.” The bitter realization made itself real. Her baby was not going to make it. All the interventions stopped at 6:26 p.m., except pain medications.
A special bed was brought into the room so that Danielle could lie down next to her baby girl. For the next two hours, she cradled her baby and sang to her. She sang Hayden’s song, “The Makings of You” by Curtis Mayfield, a song she first heard in her early pregnancy, and that she sang to her every day of her life.
She begged her daughter:
Hayden, don’t leave me. Keep fighting. I love you and I need you.
As she talked and sang to her, Hayden’s heart rate and blood pressure went up. Finally, after 2 hours, Danielle asked her sweet baby:
Hayden, are you fighting for mommy, or are you fighting for Hayden?
If you are fighting for mommy, you don’t have to fight anymore. If you are tired, I will let you go.
At that moment, Danielle says that Hayden looked at her and she let go. She saw her soul leave her body as her heart rate declined. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, —————-
She was gone.
My baby! She left me! I was so hurt. I know the entire unit heard my screams. My baby’s gone. She has no heartbeat. She left me!!!
Mama loves you Hayden…Rest in Heaven my love.
What You Can Do
Hayden is gone, and she leaves behind a devastated mother and siblings who are grieving. Hayden’s short life has touched many hearts. Her family needs love and compassion. There are already people who are criticizing Danielle and telling her that she needs to stop grieving. She lost a part of her own heart, and it has only been 3 months since the day she had to let go. Grief takes as long as it takes, but the hole left in a parent’s heart when a child is gone is a wound that will never completely go away.
The broken Child Protective System must stop putting parents through the additional hardship and grief that Riverside County, California, CPS put this family through.
Danielle still wants answers, and she wants justice for her baby. According to the medical websites discussing Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, about 70% of babies born with this condition live to adulthood. Medical advances have extended the life expectancy of these children.
But, Hayden didn’t experience any of that. Was her life cut short, as her mother believes, because of the interventions of the CPS system? How can we allow any other family to experience this heartache?
The grief is still raw. Danielle would like to consider filing lawsuits against those who hurt her baby, but she needs a good attorney to come forward to help her.
There is a Facebook page set up with beautiful pictures and precious videos posted of Hayden’s short life. Danielle is in contact with other “heart moms” – mothers of children with congenital heart defects, and she hopes to start a non-profit organization to help families facing Hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other heart defects.
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