The case of 14-year-old cerebral palsy patient Marie Freyre is complex, to say the least. Her mother, Doris Freyre, had lost custody of her because she was disabled herself. Knowing that no one could take better care of her daughter than her, Doris fought back and eventually got a judge to order that Marie be sent back home with her. But instead of following the judge's orders, a Miami Herald investigation has found that the state of Florida decided to move her from Tampa General Hospital to a nursing home in Miami. 

Doris pleaded with caseworkers not to take her, saying Marie wouldn't survive the five-hour trip strapped to a stretcher, but no one seemed to care. In fact, Doris was not even allowed to ride in the ambulance with her daughter. Twelve hours later, Marie died alone and far away from the only person who really cared abou her, her mother.

There are no easy answers in this case riddled by bureaucracy and a ton of finger pointing by state health regulators, the hospital, the nursing home, the caseworkers, the judicial system... the list is endless. But, in the end, one thing is clear: Marie is dead and there was absolutely preventable.  

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Despite her six herniated disks and carpal tunnel in both wrists--the reasons she is considered disabled--Doris had devoted her life to taking care of her daughter who was born with cerebral palsy. Why the state was incapable of accepting that Marie was better off in her mother's care is beyond understanding.

To make matters even worse, it took the state nine months to send Marie's body back to her mother. Doris had to hold a memorial service with no body. Eventually, her daughter's body was cremated in Tampa and her ashes taken to Puerto Rico for a private family funeral. 

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering this has caused Doris, especially because the death of her daughter could have been prevented. And I can't help but wonder if any of those involved in this case now wish they could go back in time and do things differently.

Image via ABCNews.com

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About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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Add Comment What do you think about parents with disabilities losing custody of their kids?

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