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Woman says joy of motherhood after giving birth was stolen due to miscommunication at Bronx hospital

A Bronx woman says that the joy she would have liked to have felt after giving birth was taken just a few hours after giving birth at North Central Bronx Hospital.

News 12 Staff

Dec 24, 2020, 3:02 AM

Updated 1,241 days ago

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A Bronx woman says that the joy she would have liked to have felt after giving birth was taken just a few hours after giving birth at North Central Bronx Hospital. 
Brielle Dade says she was given morphine for pain while she was in labor back in September. She says she thought nothing of it until she said a nurse at the hospital informed her opioids were found in her son’s system. 
She says the test was done without her consent while her son was in the NICU due to her having a fever while giving birth.
“At that point, I got really, really worried,” said Dade. She says she was caught in the crossfire of miscommunication. 
Dade says the hospital’s social worker was already called and the Administration for Children’s Services was notified and made a house visit before she was even home from the hospital. 
Dade says this was traumatic for her. “My world was just falling apart at this point...like what is going on?” said Dade. 
However, Dade’s story is not an anomaly, and New York law says informed consent is needed. Therefore, an investigation was launched last month by the city’s Commission on Human Rights--looking into drug testing policies for pregnant women at three private hospital systems in NYC. 
Those three hospitals are Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and New York-Presbyterian. This is a probe to see if these practices are discriminatory against Black and LatinX parents and their newborns. 
Policy Council to the Family Defense Practice at the Bronx Defenders has seen countless cases over the years of families needing legal representation--due to positive drug tests and subsequent reporting to CPS. 
A section of a report done by “Movement for Family Power” that focuses on the Bronx states that 462 mothers were investigated for using drugs while pregnant and almost 70% had cases against them in 2017. 
ACS carries out roughly 55,000 investigations a year of child abuse and neglect, two-thirds are unfounded and about 20 to 25% of those investigations involve substance misuse.
This is a fear for Dade who says she still has that ache in her heart that at any moment her life with her son can be interrupted. 
“I just want peace with my baby,” said Dade. 
ACS is obligated to investigate any report of child abuse that the state accepts, and hospitals are mandated reporters. 
In November, ACS and the city’s Department of Health issued guidance for hospitals simply stating that a single positive toxicology test of a parent or newborn should not be an automatic call to the state Child Abuse Hotline and by law, it’s no basis in itself a report on child abuse or neglect.
Both agencies are encouraging providers to refer services


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