PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) – A divorced doctor who has temporarily lost custody of her daughter because of the coronavirus pandemic is making a passionate plea to be reunited with her child.
The spread of COVID-19 has had heartbreaking consequences across South Florida, but for Dr. Theresa Greene, none is more painful than losing custody of her daughter.
Greene spoke about the judge’s ruling via teleconference on Monday.
“It’s not fair. It’s cruel to have to ask me to choose between my child and the oath that I took as a position,” she said.
Greene’s job is costing her more than she bargained for. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro temporarily granted full custody to the girl’s father until it’s believed the virus could be no longer a major threat.
Greene, a physician at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, said she divorced her husband two years ago.
She said she wants her daughter to be able to say her mother did all she could in the fight against the virus.
“I want her, when she grows up, to be proud of me for abiding by the oath I took when I went into medicine, but I also know that she needs me now,” she said.
Greene argued she is capable of keeping her daughter safe.
“I know what I’m doing. This isn’t the first communicable disease that I’ve encountered,” she said, “and yes, it is severe, and there’s danger, and we’re being very careful.”
The couple had split time evenly with their daughter until last week, when Shapiro handed down the temporary order.
Greene said she’s been seeing coronavirus patients since mid-March and that her hospital has an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.
Nonetheless, the decision to remove her daughter from her home, according to the court order, is intended to protect the child from possible exposure.
In a statement to 7News, the attorney representing the girl’s father said, “We recognize and genuinely appreciate the sacrifices that she and all healthcare workers are all currently making to save lives and prevent further illness in Florida and around the world.”
The attorney also said that every day their daughter loses with her mother will be made up, and that the two can make daily video calls until then.
But for Greene, the ruling simply seems cruel.
“I really have no certainty there, and the end of the pandemic? I mean, no one can say when that will be,” she said.
Greene’s attorney said this ruling sets a very dangerous precedent for caregivers across the country and has filed an appeal.
Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.
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