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Metro Detroit mother fights for daughter's care, seeks transfer to another hospital

Metro Detroit mother raises concerns over daughter's hospital care
Metro Detroit mother raises concerns over daughter's hospital care 05:48

EASTPOINTE, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A Metro Detroit mother wants her 1-year-old transferred to a hospital out of state after she says she raised concerns about her daughter's care at Children's Hospital of Michigan and was met with pushback and a temporary ban prohibiting her and her husband from visiting the hospital.

"The whole time I was pregnant, I was bleeding," Dorian Halslew said.

Halslew, a mother who's already given birth to three children, says her concerns while pregnant with twins Karter and Kayden were continuously dismissed by doctors at two different hospitals. Halslew later delivered at Hutzel Women's Hospital by emergency cesarean section while only 26 weeks pregnant.

"[Karter] came out at 1 pound, 2 ounces, and [Kayden] came out at 2 pounds," she said.

Karter and Kayden were rushed to the NICU at Hutzel post-delivery and later transferred to Children's Hospital of Michigan, where the twins were placed on a ventilator. Halslew says Karter was on the ventilator for about five months before the baby pulled it out herself. 

Kayden was discharged first, followed by Karter in May 2023. The twins celebrated their birthday together in January. The next month, Karter was rushed back to the hospital.

"We thought that it was only pneumonia," Halslew said.

"Next thing you know, one of her lungs collapsed, and they were talking about putting her on this life support machine called the ECMO [extracorporeal membrane oxygenation]."

The ECMO allowed Karter's lungs and heart to rest while pumping and oxygenating her blood outside of her body, something she was physically too weak to do on her own.

"That was so scary because it was two big 'ol tubes in neck," Halslew said. "One was blood coming in, one was blood coming out. She was on that for almost four weeks."

During Karter's final week on the ECMO machine, Halslew says she got a phone call at 4 a.m.

"[They said] that she's breathing at 40%, and they've done everything they can do," she said. "I get up out my bed, and I go down there."

Halslew says she rushed to Children's Hospital only to find medical staff sleeping on the job. She also alleges her daughter was prescribed fentanyl without her consent. Halslew provided medical records confirming the drug was used. She also says upon arrival that morning, she was furious, but tried to keep her composure.

"As soon as you say something, or you act like you don't like something that they're saying, they're going to threaten to ban you," Halslew said.

The treatment is not uncommon for Black patients. According to Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan group studying data for social science research, a survey looking into Black Americans' health care experiences found that 55% of Black Americans say they've had at least one of six negative experiences when navigating the health care system, including having to speak up to get proper care and being treated with less respect than other patients.

"We were banned for at least a month and a half when she was in the NICU to the point where she was doing so bad, they had to unban us," Halslew said.

Because of HIPPA laws, hospitals aren't allowed to discuss a patient's care without consent. However, with Halslew's permission, CBS News Detroit requested an interview with Children's Hospital of Michigan. That request, along with a request for a written response, was declined. 

As for Halslew, she met with doctors and staff on March 24, 2024, and by the end of the week, Karter had made a drastic recovery.

Karter no longer needs the ECMO, but she's still on a ventilator in the hospital. She's also been diagnosed with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), a breathing disorder in premature infants resulting in the lungs not developing normally. 

Halslew wants her daughter transferred to a hospital in Ohio that specializes in treating the disorder, but right now, she and doctors agreed that Karter isn't stable enough to be moved.

"It all sounds scary, but I'm rolling with it," Halslew said.

Just as Karter continues to fight for her life, Halslew says she plans to do the same right alongside her and encourages any mother facing a similar fight to keep advocating for the health and treatment of their children. 

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