Parents Lose Baby For 8 Months After Trip To ER - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Parents Lose Baby For 8 Months After Trip To ER

Posted: Updated:

KIROTV.COM - The Kerseys have no criminal history and are trained medical professionals. But when the Tacoma couple brought their sick baby, Ethan, to the hospital, they lost custody for eight months because of what they say was a medical mistake.  

They gave KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros an unflinching look at what happened when they were wrongly accused of abusing their son. Sarah and Brian Kersey wanted a baby so badly they went through fertility treatments and suffered two miscarriages before Ethan was born.  "(It was the) best day of my life.  

He was finally here.  He was healthy.  He was beautiful," said Sarah. Ten weeks later, they took Ethan to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital because he was feverish and not eating well. But they quickly realized staffers were inspecting them just as much as Ethan -- suspicious the Kerseys were abusing their son.  

"It really hit me, and I was like, ‘this is crazy.  I feel like I'm in a twilight zone – what's going on?'" said Sarah. "I felt confused, betrayed," said Brian. Doctors were worried mostly about red marks on Ethan's face and a red lesion under his tongue. "They called them unexplained intentional injuries. That was the diagnosis they gave him," said Sarah.  

Soon, they were joined in the hospital by police officers, Child Protective Services and Mary Bridge's child abuse specialist, Dr. Yolanda Duralde. And five days after bringing Ethan to the hospital, he was removed from the Kerseys' care and placed with Sarah's brother while the dependency action played out in juvenile court.

 "I can't explain how the Kerseys and why the Kerseys were treated the way they were in this case," said Kersey family attorney Liza Burke. Burke believes CPS relied too heavily on Dr. Duralde's findings.  She says Duralde misdiagnosed Ethan's birthmarks as bruises and the scratch under his tongue as intentional trauma.  

"The system has tremendous concern for children and the system can make mistakes," said Burke. Sarah is a nurse and Brian a certified nursing assistant. They wanted a second opinion, so they hired medical experts. Their expert found the redness under Ethan's tongue was probably caused by sucking his fingers.  

"And I had just cut his nails a few days before, so little baby nails are very sharp," said Sarah.  From the very beginning, social workers noted in case files the couple was "appropriately concerned" and "bonded" with their baby. The Kerseys even voluntarily took polygraph tests and passed.  

"It's not fair. It's not fair that we had to have our lives turned upside down like this," said Sarah.  The emotional toll was tremendous.  

"I felt like my entire insides were ripped out," said Brian.  After eight months of legal wrangling, red-tape and monitored visits with their son, a judge ruled the Kerseys are "good parents"-- but the courtroom win has not left them feeling like winners.  

"We're hoping that a system that's broken can have an opportunity to fix itself so this doesn't happen to anyone else," said Brian.

KIRO 7 asked CPS to speak with them, and the Kerseys signed an authorization form allowing their entire file to be released, but CPS did not agree to an interview. Mary Bridge only sent a statement saying in part it has a duty to report potential abuse and that, "It is the responsibility of Child Protective Services to determine whether any abuse" occurred.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: PHOTOS Of Sex Offenders Who Live In Kootenai County

    UPDATE: PHOTOS Of Sex Offenders Who Live In Kootenai County

    Wednesday, February 26 2014 6:50 AM EST2014-02-26 11:50:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Do you know who lives next to you, or in your neighborhood? KHQ has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to keep you updated on sex offenders that may be living close to you. The latest photos are from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office website. All of the offenders have served their time and are not wanted by authorities.>>
    KHQ.COM - Do you know who lives next to you, or in your neighborhood? KHQ has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to keep you updated on sex offenders that may be living close to you. The latest photos are from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office website.>>
  • SPREAD THE NEWS: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    SPREAD THE NEWS: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:59 PM EDT2014-04-16 19:59:12 GMT
    KHQ.COM - The Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division has been assisting Minnesota’s Pine County Sheriff’s Office in attempts to locate a subject charged with 59 felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct involving two young females.>>
    KHQ.COM - The Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division has been assisting Minnesota’s Pine County Sheriff’s Office in attempts to locate a subject charged with 59 felony counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct involving two young females.>>
  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:50 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:50:17 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • STILL ON THE LOOSE: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    STILL ON THE LOOSE: WSP Looks For Man Charged With 59 Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:35 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:35:04 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Detectives in Minnesota believe a former cult leader who sexually abused young girls is now living in the Spokane Area. WSP is asking that you share any information you have that may lead to his arrest. MORE DETAILS INSIDE OF THE STORY>>>>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Detectives in Minnesota believe a former cult leader who sexually abused young girls is now living in the Spokane Area. WSP is asking that you share any information you have that may lead to his arrest. MORE DETAILS INSIDE OF THE STORY>>>
    >>
  • Portland Drains 50-Million Gallon Drinking Water Reservoir After Teen Urinates In Water

    Portland Drains 50-Million Gallon Drinking Water Reservoir After Teen Urinates In Water

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:17 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:17:34 GMT
    PORTLAND, Ore. - 38 million gallons of drinking water was flushed from the Mt. Tabor Reservior in Portland, Oregon this week after a teenager was caught urinating in the reservoir.
    >>
    PORTLAND, Ore. - 38 million gallons of drinking water was flushed from the Mt. Tabor Reservoir in Portland, Oregon this week after a teenager was caught urinating in the reservoir.
    >>
  • ACTION CAM: JDRF Tee Off For A Cure Preview

    ACTION CAM: JDRF Tee Off For A Cure Preview

    Thursday, April 17 2014 1:41 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:41:37 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Tee Off FORE a Cure was founded in 2001 by Rob McWilliams in honor of his brother, Eddie McWilliams. Dedicated patrons and volunteers return year after year for what has become one of the most successful charity events in the Inland Northwest. Since inception, the event has raised over $1,277,000.>>
    KHQ.COM - Tee Off FORE a Cure was founded in 2001 by Rob McWilliams in honor of his brother, Eddie McWilliams. Dedicated patrons and volunteers return year after year for what has become one of the most successful charity events in the Inland Northwest. Since inception, the event has raised over $1,277,000.
    >>