Headley boys in matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts, before they were taken. Source: Headley family.
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
The Headley family out of South Carolina has endured many hardships since their four boys were taken into custody in July of 2015, because the mother disagreed with a doctor regarding the care of her youngest son, and wanted a second opinion. One of the hardships they have endured was recently discovering mold in their home – a likely culprit in the health problems of their children. However, when it was suggested that mold might be the culprit for some of the children’s illnesses, a court-appointed expert rejected the possibility.
Photo by Tim Kimzey – goupstate.com
Now, parents William and Danielle await a phone call to find out when their next court date will be, and it is uncertain when the boys will get to come home. Ironically, recent developments in the air quality at the Spartanburg County courthouse related to mold, the same mold that was found in the Headley home, has forced the courthouse to shut down for a while, extending their reunification date even further.
See original story:
Mold Threatens Health of Spartanburg Courthouse Employees
WSPA reports that several areas of the Spartanburg County Courthouse have been closed for over a week and will continue to be closed until September 9, 2016 because of mold.
Go Up State reports that the mold found in the courthouse is Stachybotrys chartarum, the same species found in the Headley home.
“After years of mold and air quality issues inside the aging Spartanburg County Courthouse, County Council has agreed to spend up to $300,000 to remove the mold and consider a new courthouse for its 240 employees.”
This comes after some of the employees have “complained for years about suffering from mold-related symptoms.”
Courthouse employees wearing masks to protect themselves from mold. Source: WSPA
Go Up State goes on to say that on August 26, Clerk of Court Hope Blackley ordered all four family courtrooms closed through Labor Day, citing health concerns.
Blackley has been fielding mold concerns from many of the courthouse employees for months, like “headaches, breathing difficulties, and skin irritations.”
She said that she is “not going to allow people to work in an environment that could make them sick.” It was Blackley who first brought the mold issue to the council’s attention in January 2014 and showed members where mold was growing.
Assistant Clerk of Court Gail Moffit told Go Up State that she is concerned about the leaks and mold spores around vents and tiles. She said:
“I’ve been in it every day for 49 years.”
County officials have said that the mold in the building is “nontoxic,” but Moffit says that she is not convinced.
After court officials gave the employees a copy of a report concerning the mold, they were told that they could “see an occupational health doctor with Spartanburg Regional Health system at the county’s expense.”
Go Up State says that the report states that air samples:
“indicated elevated levels of fungi, including Aspergillus, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, and Cladosporium mold spores,” and “there are no federal guidelines or regulated safe exposure levels for mold.” It goes on to say, “At this time, there are no remarkable fungal levels that would cause the evacuation of the building,” but if anyone has a “confirmed health diagnosis, relocation within another area of the building may be considered.”
Circuit Court Judge Roger Couch said that mold in his office and courtroom “posed a public safety hazard.”
Wallpaper peeled back at the courthouse. Source: Fox Carolina
Mold behind the wallpaper at the courthouse. Source: Fox Carolina
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “The term ‘toxic mold’ is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous.”
Headley Home Found to Contain Some of the Same Species of Mold
A few months after the children were taken, Medical Kidnap reported that mold was found in the Headley home. The Headley family hired an environmental specialist to inspect the mold and air quality.
After being in the home for a few minutes, the environmental specialist developed a headache and had to go outside to get a mask.
The samples that were taken tested positive for three different toxic species: Stachybotrys chartarum, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. The specialist advised the family to move, and in January 2016 they did just that.
Here is the Medical Kidnap story about the mold found in the Headley home:
Exposure to Stachybotrys Chartarum Linked to Health Issues
According to a blog by Dr. Luke Curtis on Know the Cause:
“It is well known that airborne exposure to indoor and outdoor molds and their mycotoxins can cause allergy related health effects such as asthma, wheezing, sinusitis, and skin/eye irritation.” Further, he says, “Indoor exposure to molds and mycotoxins (at concentrations commonly found in water damaged buildings) can cause a wide range of neurotoxic effects.”
Some of the symptoms of mold/mycotoxin exposure Dr. Curtis noted are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory and concentration problems
- Increased levels of autoantibodies to many nervous system proteins including myelin from both the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as neurofilament and smooth muscle proteins
- Decrease in lung function
- Reduction in reaction speed, balance, color vision, grip strength, memory, concentration, and motor skills
- Fatigue and depression
- Severe neuron loss and inflammation to the olfactory nerve
- Severe rhinitis and loss of olfactory nerve neurons
- Oxidative damage
- Cell death (apoptosis)
- Significantly higher cell permeability in human brain capillary endothelial cells, which suggests that satratoxin, a mold byproduct of Stachybotrys chartarum, may be able to damage the blood brain barrier
Jack Headley’s Symptoms Dismissed by Expert Testifying for State
Medical Kidnap reported that not long after the youngest child, Jack, was removed from the home, social workers noted an improvement in his symptoms. This is likely “because of his already compromised physical health, the mold impacted him more severely.”
However, the court did not accept that possibility, based on the testimony of allergist and immunologist Dr. Robin Go. According to court records:
Dr. Go testified that some people try to claim that Stachybotrys chartarum has caused them a variety of symptoms including fatigue, loss of weight, cancer, muscle weakness, and headaches. However, Dr. Go testified that those are not currently accepted because medical evidence shows those are not accepted claims.
Why are Courthouse Employees’ Claims Considered but Not the Headleys’?
This begs the question, why do officials heed their employees’ claims who come to them with classic mold-related symptoms by evacuating them and offering to pay for their medical bills, yet dismiss those of the Headley family?
Some Disturbing Events Since Last Medical Kidnap Story
While Danielle was in a coma, her children were not allowed to see her
Last April, Danielle was in a coma and on life support from having multiple epileptic seizures. While in the Neuro-ICU in critical condition, a previous foster mother of one of the Headley children who stayed in close contact with the family contacted DSS, as well as the original police officer who took the children. She begged them to let the boys come to the hospital to see their mother.
The doctors were unsure if Danielle was going to make it, and it might be the last time the boys would see their mom.
Sadly, DSS denied the request, and the boys were not allowed to see their mother who was so close to death.
During an evacuation of the building, Danielle’s children and husband were not notified and locked inside
At a visitation with her children, Danielle, who is not allowed to see her youngest son, Jack, had to sit outside for the first half of the visit while he visited with his father.
While sitting outside, she watched everyone evacuate the building, the doors lock, and everyone move across the street to the parking lot.
Notably, Danielle’s husband, children, case worker, and the Guardian ad Litem were not evacuated. Danielle called her husband in a panic, fearing the worst. She worried that they were being held at gunpoint or trapped in a fire.
When her husband said that everyone was OK, he asked her why she was asking. Danielle told him that everyone had evacuated the building and the doors were locked. When William asked their caseworker why the building was evacuated, the caseworker said that she didn’t know—she was never told to leave. The caseworker called her supervisor and was told that it was because of a bomb threat.
Two of the boys are experiencing severe depression
The Headley family member also told Medical Kidnap that Nick and Jack are experiencing severe depression and that they just want to come home. It is reported that Jack, who hasn’t seen his mother in almost 14 months, continually says that he “just wants his mommy.” Jack has celebrated his last two birthdays in foster care, without his mom.
No trial date has been set for Danielle
Danielle was criminally charged with regards to Jack’s health issues, and a trial date still has not been set. Meanwhile, she is not allowed to be in the same room with him, not even during a supervised visit.
How You Can Help
Supporters have set up a Facebook group that other supporters are welcome to join called Reunite the Headley Family. Jack has his own Facebook page called Peanut Jack’s Journey, SCAD, and Medical Kidnap Awareness.
The Senator for the Headley’s district is Glenn Reese at 864-592-2984. He may be contacted here.
Representative Harold Mitchell Jr. represents their district in Spartanburg at 803-734-6638. He may be contacted here.
Spartanburg County Department Social Services – Danielle Bowles at 864-426-3610. Contact their office here.
Comment on this article at MedicalKidnap.com.
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