An emergency room doctor in Miami has temporarily lost custody of her 4-year-old daughter while she treats patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Theresa Greene is now appealing the emergency order that granted her ex-husband full custody of their daughter.
She stated: „I think it’s not fair, it’s cruel to ask me to choose between my child and the oath I took as a physician…I won’t abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it’s torture.“
Dr Greene and her ex-husband have been divorced for almost two years and have split time with their daughter evenly.
The Circuit Court ruled that the child should stay with her father to limit the risk of exposure to coronavirus. The Judge stated: “The Court does not enter this Order lightly but given the pandemic in Florida and the recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Court finds in order to insulate and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this Order must be entered on a temporary basis.”
Dr Greene said she felt the order discriminated against her as a divorced parent – „If I was married I’d be given the opportunity to go home to my child, no one could tell me I shouldn’t do that.“
She confirmed that she has had access to and been able to wear full PPE while treating covid-19 infected patients and that she has done everything she can to avoid contracting the disease. She said her daughter generally stays with her ex-husband when she works. „Yes it is severe and there is danger, and we’re being very careful,“ she said. „We use every thing we can. I’ve actually worn equipment above and beyond to protect myself and my child.“
The Greenes’ temporary timesharing dispute was presented before the Court based upon the specific facts of this individual family and a decision was reached based upon the best interests and safety of a minor child, limited to the temporary circumstances presented by COVID-19. The Court’s ruling was not intended to serve as a blanket rule, nor should it. Pursuant to Mr. Greene’s request, it was Ordered by the Court that Dr Greene is to be provided future make-up timesharing for each day missed during this challenging time and daily video communication with the child.
Theresa Greene said that although her daughter doesn’t understand what’s going on now she hopes that in the future she will be proud of her abiding to the oath that she took when she went into medicine.