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ER doctor loses custody of her child because of pandemic: 'She's going to think I abandoned her'

Dr. Greene's ex-husband argued in court that she was exposing their four-year-old to the deadly COVID-19, forcing her to give up joint custody.

ER doctor loses custody of her child because of pandemic: 'She's going to think I abandoned her'
Image Source: Sigrid Gombert / Getty Images

At the frontlines of this global public health crisis are our country's health workers. Every single day, they leave their families at home in order to go out and protect American citizens. While most medical professionals see this as their duty and service, others have begun to bear the heavy brunt of the job. Dr. Theresa Greene, an emergency room doctor in Miami, Florida, is one of them. Right now, she's not sure when she will be able to see her daughter, who is only four years old, again. Why? Simply because she is a frontline worker against the Coronavirus pandemic, PEOPLE Magazine reports.



Her daughter is currently living with her ex-husband Eric Greene. He was handed temporary sole custody over their daughter after it was argued in court that Dr. Greene was exposing her daughter to the deadly COVID-19 virus after treating her patients. The concerned mother stated in an interview with PEOPLE, "I just fear that she’s going to think I abandoned her and that's really, really hard for me." It has been difficult for her daughter, too, who found out that she would not be returning home to meet her mother anytime soon. "What do you mean?” the four-year-old asked during a FaceTime session with Dr. Greene. "Aren’t I coming home?"


Before hanging up the call, her daughter apparently told her that her stuffed cat was "angry" with her. Dr. Greene shared, "She was playing with her animal friends and she told me her cat was mad at me. And I’ve seen her do that before, she uses transference like that, while she talks to her animals. I was like, ‘Oh, child, you’re breaking my heart.’" Indeed, her situation is a heartbreaking one. The doctor's attorney, Steven Nullman, argued that the inference that she would expose her daughter to the novel Coronavirus is "flawed." "This concern that Dr. Greene would come home and she would have all of that exposure, theoretically as they allege, on her and on her clothes and what have you, it’s not reality," he said. "Because what would happen is she would be working one day, come home, her daughter would be with [the] father... And then on the days that she had her child, she wasn’t working."



Moreover, as a skilled health professional, Dr. Greene takes all the necessary precautions to ensure that she isn't carrying the virus or able to transfer it to others. After all, if a medical professional isn't careful, who else will be? She stated, "When I come home, I take off my clothes outside, leave everything outside, it goes right in the washer, wash it on high, and I get in the shower. I actually am very paranoid and very careful — like if I touch the doorknob I go back and I Lysol that." Therefore, for the court to grant full custody to her husband at this challenging period of time, is rather heartless and heavy-handed.



The couple has been divorced for almost two years now. So far, the husband and wife have shared joint custody of their daughter. The divorce has placed Dr. Greene under special circumstances. "Most of my coworkers have children that they go home to," she explained. "No one is calling CPS on them and saying, 'You’re exposing your child to a deadly illness.' No one is actually acting to protect the children of people who are married, and no one is asking them to sacrifice their jobs." Why, then, is the court acting on such a discriminatory basis? They are yet to provide an explanation. Nonetheless, the court did agree to "make up" for the loss in time-sharing to Dr. Greene.



Her husband's attorney Paul Leinoff clarified, "Pursuant to Mr. Greene’s request and as ordered by the Court, 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. We will continue to pursue ways to resolve this delicate situation and believe that a result can be achieved safely and fairly." Regardless, Dr. Greene just wants to have her child back in her arms. "I just want to say that I love my daughter more than anything, and that’s why I’m fighting this battle," she affirmed. "It’s become bigger than me too, in setting a precedent, and I need to do this for other people who are frontline workers in this situation and to fight what I believe is injustice. I hope I have my kid back soon."


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