Society

Colorado Hospital Accused Of Banning Mom From Visiting Her Daughter Out Of 'Retaliation'

| by Karin Sun
Amber McCullough and Hannah.Amber McCullough and Hannah.

A woman has reportedly been banned from visiting her infant daughter by administrators at the children's hospital in Colorado where the girl is receiving treatment.

Amber McCullough told KDVR she has been barred from visiting her daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit of Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado.

McCullough, who is from Minnesota, gave birth to conjoined twin girls, Hannah and Olivia, on Aug. 26. Olivia died during surgery to separate the twins shortly after birth.

The surviving twin, Hannah, has remained in the hospital since the surgery.

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McCullough said her relationship with administrators at Children's Hospital Colorado took a turn for the worse after she filed a complaint with the state health department over a surgery her daughter received on Nov. 17.

She reportedly complained that hospital staff waited too long to operate after an incision in Hannah's neck ruptured.

Soon afterwards, on Nov. 23, the hospital restricted McCullough's visiting time with her daughter to three hours a day and asked that she adhere to a "behavior agreement" to continue making visits.

McCullough's attorney, James Avery, told KDVR the hospital imposed these restrictions to punish his client for filing the complaint.

On Jan. 3, the hospital allegedly retaliated again when McCullough told a nurse that she was planning to transfer her daughter to Boston Children's Hospital to get a second opinion on her treatment.

The hospital then decided to cut off McCullough's access to her daughter entirely on Jan. 3.

In an email to Avery, hospital administrators said the decision was made because McCullough had violated her behavior agreement by making threats to hospital staff and telling them that they would be "sorry" for their decisions, KDVR reported.

McCullough denied making these threats and said that she had simply discussed her daughter's care with the nurse.

"I expressed my position that Boston is better able to provide the most appropriate care for her because they’re ranked top five in all of [Hannah's] specialty needs," McCullough, adding that the nurse was offended by her comments and complained to hospital administration.

"How is discussing my daughter's transfer with her care team a violation of a so-called behavior contract?" McCullough asked.

She added that she had been trying to get her daughter transferred to Boston since the hospital restricted her access in November. She also said that hospital staff never told her important details about Hannah's condition, including the fact that she has suffered fractured ribs because of an enlarged heart.

"It’s not that I don’t ask questions," she said. "It’s not that I’m an uninvolved parent. Clearly my asking questions has gotten me in a lot of trouble."

She will reportedly not be able to visit her daughter again until the child is transferred to Boston, which could take a few weeks because of insurance issues.

Data published by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows conjoined twins occur in approximately 1 out of every 50,000 to 60,000 births, reports ABC News. 

Sources: KDVR, ABC News / Photo credit: Amber McCullough/Facebook, GoFundMe