DENVER — Six weeks after Children’s Hospital Colorado restricted Amber McCullough’s visiting hours to see her own daughter, she’s now been barred entirely from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The move came Sunday after McCullough said she told a nurse she was looking forward to transferring her 4-month old daughter Hannah to Boston Children’s Hospital and getting a second opinion for her care.
“This shouldn`t happen to anyone, this is a complete abuse of power and my daughter is sitting in a hospital room paying for it because she can`t have mom there,” said McCullough in an exclusive interview with FOX31 Denver.
Amber McCullough gave birth to conjoined twins on August 26, knowing only one could survive separation surgery. Hannah’s sister Olivia died at birth.
McCullough, a native of Minnesota, praised the staff of Children’s Hospital Colorado at the time but relations turned frosty three months later.
“Behavior agreement” imposed
McCullough’s visiting access was restricted on November 23 to three hours per day, after the hospital imposed a “behavior agreement.”
McCullough and her attorney James Avery called the action a case of retaliation since it came one business day after McCullough filed a complaint with the state health department.
McCullough blamed the hospital for waiting too long to perform emergency surgery on November 17 after an incision in her daughter’s neck ruptured.
Now McCullough says Children’s Hospital is retaliating again. “It`s retaliation over the transfer. They`ve made it very clear that they`re not happy about the prospect of transfer.”
McCullough has been working on a transfer to Boston Children’s Hospital since her access to Hannah was limited in November.
She claims on Saturday a nurse asked her if she had applied to Medicaid to pay for the transfer to Boston. “I expressed my position that Boston is better able to provide the most appropriate care for her because they’re ranked top five in all of her [Hannah’s] specialty needs,” said McCullough who claims the nurse got offended and apparently complained to hospital administration.
“How is discussing my daughter’s transfer with her care team a violation of a so-called behavior contract?” asked McCullough.
In an email to McCullough’s attorney, James Avery, the hospital claims McCullough violated her behavior agreement. Among other things the email states Amber, “was overheard making threats about treating physicians and how they’ll be ‘sorry’ for their decisions.”
“I never said that,” responded McCullough, who added she can prove it because she’s been recording all of her conversations at the hospital. “It’s on recording, 100 percent.”
Amber said it’s possible she may not see her daughter until she’s transferred to Boston and that could take a couple of weeks because of insurance issues.
She said last week she finally obtain medical records telling her Hannah has an enlarged heart and suffered fractured ribs, neither of which she was ever told about.
“It’s not that I don’t ask questions. It’s not that I’m an uninvolved parent, clearly my asking questions has gotten me in a lot of trouble,” said McCullough.
Children’s Hospital Colorado refused to discuss the matter with Fox 31. The hospital provided the following written statement:
“It is the hospital’s policy to refrain from discussing matters when a patient or patient family member has filed a Notice of Claim, notifying the hospital of an intent to sue. In addition, with respect to the privacy of the patient and family and in compliance with HIPAA privacy regulations, Children’s Hospital Colorado is not able to release any further information concerning this patient.