Here are a few of the main points from the article with some context based on the July 2 hearing.
I sent a heated messaged to the author of this article when it came out because it is so misleadingly and, in some cases, blatantly inaccurate. Although the author had access to information about the testimony given at the July 2 hearing, he chose not to include it. I’m offering this perspective as someone who was in the room at the time.
Here are a few points from the article:
“According to court documents obtained by inForney.com CPS asked for a court order to remove the child because they say Drake’s mother, Ashley Pardo, is ‘displaying symptoms of Munchausen syndrome by proxy,’ a mental illness where a person acts as if an individual he or she is caring for has a physical or mental illness when the person is not really sick.
- InForney chose not to report about how Dr. Dakil, the doctor who filed the original report, testified at the July 2 hearing that she had no concerns of Munchausen. CPS was the only one who raised this concern. After Dr. Dakil shot them down on this point at the July 2 hearing, CPS came back at the next hearing on August 9 and testified that they no longer have concerns about Munchausen either. Thus, there is no concern or accusation of Munchausen in the case.
“Ashely has multiple physicians and switches doctors when she does not agree with their assessment. Ashley is exaggerating and lying about [her son’s] symptoms and conditions,” according to the affidavit.
- According to Dr. Dakil’s uncontested testimony at the hearing, the family has only switched doctors one time. They switched from one doctor inside Children’s to another doctor inside the exact same office. The reason for this switch, of which Dr. Dakil admitted she was not aware, is because the first doctor refused to visit Drake for several days while he was admitted to the hospital. The family fired him, switched to another doctor in the same office, and filed a formal complaint against the first doctor.
“Ashley is demanding an unnecessary surgical procedure to place a G-tube.”
- According to Dr. Dakil’s uncontradicted testimony at the hearing, her concern that the family might seek this procedure was “speculative” and, in her own words, the family had not given her any reason to believe they actually planned to do this. She also testified that she wanted Drake to have a feeding study to determine whether he needed a feeding tube. She acknowledged in testimony that the only reason the family had declined the feeding study is that it is a 12-week in-patient study and they were unable to afford it. The family learned for the first time at the hearing that there was also an option for a local feeding study conducted by another facility. The family said they were happy to do this study but had never been told about it.
“Dr. Dakil writes in the affidavit that Children’s Medical Center at Dallas has been treating the child since infancy and the mother has expressed concern for multiple problems over the years including: epilepsy, sleep apnea, immunodeficiency and fevers, autism, behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, dysautonomia, developmental delays and problems with feeding and swallowing. Children’s Medical Center says they have done exhaustive tests and evaluations that all returned as ‘normal.’”
- The author of the article clearly was not at the hearing. For example, the child has a letter of diagnosis for autism from another doctor outside of Children’s. Dr. Dakil stated on the stand that she had not seen or been aware of this diagnosis until after making her report. The child was tested for epilepsy at the request of another doctor outside of Children’s. When the testing came back negative, Dr. Dakil testified that the family accepted that finding without trouble. Dr. Dakil testified that Drake does have developmental delays: specifically that he has speech delays. According to Dr. Dakil’s testimony, the main thing that Drake needed going forward is to have both of his parents involved in the medical visits and to have his doctors all communicating better with each other.
The article states, “Dr. Dakil testified for the state during Tuesday’s hearing that she continues to stand by her initial assessment and affidavit and believes that the child remains in danger of medical child abuse if returned to its mother.”
- This is not true. Dr. Dakil testified that she “stands by her initial assessment” but very carefully and repeatedly stated that her only “assessment” is that medical child abuse was “possible.” She stated repeatedly that she had no idea whether it was actually taking place and that, in order to determine this, she would need to have a conversation with the family, a step she had failed to take before filing her report. She further stated that the parents had not actually done anything indicating they might seek the unnecessary treatment she was concerned about. However, she testified that because she thought it was “possible” that she should report it to CPS. Dr. Dakil also testified that her opinion of what the child needed going forward was for the family to meet with the hospital, for both parents to come to future medical visits, and for all of the doctors to have better communication to understand each other’s diagnoses. She specifically declined to state that Drake would be in danger if he returned home. She stated that her “concern” would remain until she has spoken to the family to hear what their perspective was but that she had not yet done that. She also stated that she was not sure how her recommendations would be possible as long as Drake remained in CPS care.
The article states, “According to CPS documents obtained by inForney.com, the mother has had a history with CPS since 2009.”
- The documents cited by InForney explain in detail that the “CPS history” was Ashley Pardo’s ex-husband, who was physically abusive. The documents also explain that the 2009 CPS concerns were not regarding Ashley or her current husband, Daniel. As explained by the documents and at the July 2 hearing, no CPS concerns were ever raised about Ashley, as she was found to have been the victim. InForney has access to this information but chose not to include it, which is detestable, and instead decided to imply that Ashley had been involved in past CPS investigations when she was actually the victim of domestic violence, according to CPS’ own records and testimony.