A baby taken by CPS earlier this month in California after his parents sought a second opinion has been returned to the custody of his mom and dad — but their ordeal with Child Protective Services is far from over.
Sammy Nikolayev was seized in a dramatic home visit by police from his parents Anna and Alex Nikolayev in Sacramento, and placed in CPS custody after a seemingly benign disagreement between the Nikolayevs and doctors at local Sutter Memorial Hospital.
Sammy Nikolayev, who is 5 months old, was taken from his parents by CPS after presenting with flu symptoms at Sutter a few weeks back. The baby was born with a heart murmur, which is common, and doctors at the hospital reportedly decided to do open heart surgery on the child.
Anna Nikolayev objected, wanting to obtain a second opinion. Against medical advice, she and Alex took baby Sammy straight from Sutter to a rival hospital, Kaiser Permanente. Sammy was again seen by doctors, who cleared the child to return home.
Sacramento Police stormed in the following day and seized the child, placing Sammy in the custody of CPS and sparking a national controversy over parental rights as well as CPS oversight.
Anna Nikolayev had filmed the police visit, and in the clip, an officer reportedly says:
“I’m going to grab your baby, and don’t resist, and don’t fight me ok?”
She adds: “He’s like, ‘okay let your son go,’ so I had to let him go, and he grabbed my arm, so I couldn’t take Sammy. And they took Sammy, and they just walked away.”
In what had to be particularly nightmarish for the Nikolayevs, not only did CPS take Sammy and charge the couple with “severe neglect,” the agency also placed their son in “protective custody” … at Sutter Memorial Hospital, the same facility that appeared hellbent on performing what seemed to be unnecessary open heart surgery on the infant.
This week, Sammy was moved to a neighboring Bay Area hospital and will be returned to his parents upon discharge — with the condition of CPS monitoring.
Further, local news outlets report a troubling condition. Baby Sammy’s parents are now ordered by the court to “follow all medical advice from now on,” a broad and unsettling demand that is not only not very clear, but also leaves the family open to potential CPS action in the future.
Do you think seeking a second opinion is cause for CPS involvement, or should parents have a right to decide which doctors treat their child?