Interesting memories from medical school came to mind as I was pondering the idea that Scandinavian societies developed a culture of calling the Child Protective Services for nearly any trivial matter.
I had the opportunity to work with many children during my medical education at UC San Francisco and my residency at UCLA. Some of my most difficult and rewarding cases involved children.
One of my first experiences in my surgery rotation was emotionally riveting. Somehow a parent got inside the trauma room at the San Francisco General Hospital ER while their 7-year-old daughter was being resuscitated after a major motor vehicle accident. Imagine the desperation from seeing your child hooked up to life support and the people around you thinking you have gone insane. Thankfully, the girl survived and made a full recovery.
Did we call CPS because the parents went crazy? No.
In another case that still gives me chills 12 years later, I saved a 5-year-old’s life when the tumor that the surgeon was resecting from her intestine secreted a substance called bradykinin into the blood stream which gave her an acute asthma-like attack. The following 45 min were some of the most intense of my career. There were brief periods when I could not move a single molecule of oxygen into the kid’s lungs. The renowned pediatric surgeon on the case had never seen anything like that in his 40 year career. She too recovered without sequelae.
Did anyone call CPS to assess whether the parents would be fit to care for this child after her surgery? No.
As a young student on the pediatric ward at SFGH I was assigned the case of a 18-month-old obese Samoan baby who was admitted to the hospital with RSV pneumonia. She spent two weeks in the hospital. I saw her everyday, and I made time to play with her. By the end of the two weeks she called me “da-da.” My team thought it was the most hilarious thing. Her parents were poor working class people who could not afford to take off work to stay with her in the hospital. In their mind the hospital was like a daycare facility with doctors. We rarely saw them at bedside.
Did we call CPS because they seemed involved? No.
In fact, have I ever seen a case (non-accidental injury excluded) which lead to CPS notification? No.
But there are places like Norway where calling the CPS for every little thing has become the norm. This is how we have the case of baby Aria who was confiscated immediately after birth under the pretext of preventative measures. Her parents never got the chance to actually be parents. Not even God punishes sin before sin is committed! But Barnevernet thinks it is above God and will not even allow parents to show they can be wonderful parents.
The baby seems unhappy? He does not have enough toys? Not enough eye contact with his parents? The parents are a bit radical in their Christianity? Other reasons (here). Let’s call CPS.
How did Norway get to be like this? How did it adopt a “snitch” culture with respect to CPS?
photo: San Francisco General Hospital (www.ucsf.edu)