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Pre-2008 Posts

TRAVESTY: Patriarchal Medicine Strikes (Mothers) Again: Free Tina Marie Carlsen

Tina Marie Carlsen

An Amber Alert was issued Friday for the nine-month-old son of Tina Marie Carlsen.  Carlsen was said to have taken her baby, who was "not in her custody," from a local children's hospital where he was scheduled for surgery. 

The moment I heard about this "alert" I was skeptical, because so little information was provided.  The public was told that the baby was "gravely ill,"  and "would die" without surgery, without being provided with any specifics as to the illness.  There were also no specifics listed as to why the child was not in his mother's custody.  The only detail of the reported "abduction" of this child by his mother which troubled me was the baby's size; 14 pounds is small for a nine-month old.  Then again, it is not unheard of; when I was having my babies, the rule was that your child should double his or her birth weight by six months.  If the child was five pounds when he was born, then by this rule, he should have been 10 pounds at six months, so again, 14 pounds, while small, might still be not so small as to give rise to concern. 

So the "abducted" child has now been "found."  My hunches were correct.  This was a dispute over medical care.  State child welfare officials took custody of this child because the mother didn't want her tiny baby operated on for a kidney problem; she wanted to seek naturopathic care and alternative treatments instead.   Today's newspaper articles say the baby appears to be fine and was not in any distress.  The baby's father and relatives all agree that the mother is a good mother and that all she wanted to do was protect her child from being cut open by doctors.

But as of today, his mom, Tina Marie Carlsen, is IN JAIL FOR KIDNAPPING.

You know what?

Fuck you, patriarchal medical establishment, and again I say, fuck you.  And fuck you, Washington State Child Protective Services, and again I say, fuck you.  You are responsible for the deaths of hundreds, probably thousands of babies and children over the years, and yet you would presume to tell this mother what is best for her son, to force your will on her and her child, a child whom everyone agrees does not appear to be in any imminent danger, who appears to be fine. 

Here's what I think.  I think you are really feeling the backlash right now of, for one of many examples I could list, having ignored 29 reports of abuse and sexual abuse of three foster and adopted daughters whom I blogged about last week.  I think you are feeling the backlash of the horrendously poor job you have been doing, in general, of protecting children from fathers, especially, who batter, sexually abuse, and kill their children.  So what the hell do you do?  Goddamn you, you arrest a mother for trying to protect her child from medical treatments she is afraid will kill him.  AND THEY MIGHT.  Women and children in this state, in any state, have NO reason to have faith in the patriarchal medical establishment OR in "child welfare authorities."  You hurt, maim and kill us all of the goddamn time.

And as to issuing an  "Amber Alert" for this child:  that was an ABUSE of the laws created to protect children and their caregivers.  The Amber Alert is supposed to be issued for children who have actually been abducted.   This was no abduction, this was state agencies and medical authorities run amok, this was smoke and mirrors designed to divert public attention from the REAL abductors and the REAL kidnappers, this was state officials running scared and covering their fucking asses, with NO concern for this mother and her child, and Tina Marie Carlsen is a goddamn HERO.

I just hope she is able to obtain a good lawyer who sues your butts off, but oh, that's right, recent court decisions have provided you with immunity and so you will never pay for the damage that you have done and that you will continue to do.

You are a goddamn joke, except that you are dangerous as all hell to women and children and that is no laughing matter.

This is why I do not darken the door of any patriarchal medical establishment, EVER, with my young children in tow, why I have not for decades and never will and will urge all the mothers I know to follow my example. I have not and will not subject my children, or any children under my care, to your intrusions, your violations and your woman-hating, abuser-protecting policies and practices.  You will put your hands on my children over my goddamn dead body.  You will not touch them with your hands, your needles, your knives, your medicines, your charts or your paperwork.  It's worked SO well for me.  I have 11 healthy children who are virtually NEVER ill and have not been over the past 34 years.  If I'd done what so many scared mothers do — created trails between my house and your offices worried of being accused of neglect if I didn't subject every sniffle to your examination and your disease- and infection-ridden offices (and your outrageous invoices) — I might well be in jail right now as a kidnapper myself, just like this innocent women.

If you didn't hear me the first time, I'll say it again:


And free Tina Marie Carlsen and her child.





11 thoughts on “TRAVESTY: Patriarchal Medicine Strikes (Mothers) Again: Free Tina Marie Carlsen

  1. You have hit a controversial intersection. Alot of people are slaves to the expertise of doctors and readily give away their personal power to them.
    This is a righteous rant. Thanks.

    Posted by rhondda | June 26, 2006, 2:04 pm
  2. Thanks to you, rhondda, for agreeing with me. Heh. Bitter heh.

    You know, I stopped bowing and scraping before patriarchal medicine a long, long time ago, 30-some odd years, when I first became interested in the home birth movement and when there were all the free clinics and “People’s Clinics” popping up all over the place in counterculture days. I got more and more interested as time passed and I got into the back-to-the-land and homesteading movements. A real turning point for me was reading How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Pediatrician, by Robert Mendelssohn, who had been the chair of the American Academy of Pediatricians. I birthed at home with midwives, rejected “well baby care,” which is basically surveillance of mothers, rejected most of what patriarchal medicine says people need, because it lies. In a million ways, it lies.

    This is one area which frustrates me, though, as to feminism. A feminist woman might be revolutionary in every way except when it comes to doctors and medicine.

    And before someone asks the question, I’ll answer it, yes, there are times to go to doctors. 15 years ago I broke my leg all the way through, had to get surgery, had to have pins and screws put into my bones, and I was glad the technology was available for that. One of my sons broke his arm once and needed a cast. A few times over the years, my kids have needed stitches. I am not saying there is no time ever to go to a doctor.

    I am saying that patriarchal medicine and the pharmaceutical industry and health care in this country are a disgrace. These are little better than rackets.

    I always liked the story Dr. Mendelssohn, who was Jewish, told about a doctor’s strike in Israel. He said that during the 48 hours of the strike or whatever it was, mortality decreased by some outrageous percentile, 72 percent or something like that.

    Well, anyway.


    Posted by womensspace | June 26, 2006, 4:14 pm
  3. I know what you mean. My doctor was always annoyed with me when I took my kids to him because I had diagnoised the problem and told him what the child needed. This was before I even know about other ways of medicine. I discovered them when he tried to get me to comply to some truly invasive procedures when the problem was very simple. I have not been back. When he used the fear word cancer, I knew he was lying and it was a coercive move. That was a few years ago too.
    Doctors are not educated in nutrition, or prevention. It is all about dis/ease.

    Posted by rhondda | June 26, 2006, 6:12 pm
  4. So true. The first really chilling experience I had with a doctor was when I went to one to get birth control after always having gone to Planned Parenthood before. I was 19 or 20. Anyway, I wanted to get an IUD, and he recommended the Dalkon Shield. I had read up on all of the IUD’s and I knew women were having their uterus’s perforated using this one, so I spoke up and said I didn’t want that one, I wanted a Lippes Loop, which I’d learned was the safest one at the time. He got really angry with me and basically reamed me out in this highly indignant tone, i.e., where did I get off rejecting his prescription, who did I think he was. Within the next year the Dalkon Shield had been taken off the market. ::::rage::::

    I have had doctors tell me any NUMBER of times that if I didn’t do what they said with respect to one of my children, “my baby would die.” This almost always happened with respect to neonatal jaundice. All but one of my kids became clearly jaundiced at 2-3 days old, it was regular neonatal jaundice, and I knew it would pass if I just breastfed, put the baby in a sunny window when I could, etc. But idiotic doctors on several occasions insisted variously that I had to stop breastfeeding immediately (breastfeeding has no effect on neonatal jaundice other than a positive effect because a jaundiced infant needs lots of liquids), that I should leave my child in the hospital to be placed under bili lights (not necessary for neonatal jaundice). UGH. I KNEW they would be fine but it is the unforgiveable sin to challenge what doctors say!


    Posted by womensspace | June 26, 2006, 6:40 pm
  5. it is the unforgiveable sin to challenge what doctors say!
    ah yes, the cult of the doctor. that which also leads psychiatrists (who have only had a couple of semesters of study in psychology) to be covered by medical here in Canada, rather than psychologists, who have years of study concerning psychology. argh. of course, this is not even going into the problems within modern psychology to begin with! but at least I’d like to get someone who’s done more than a few classes, jeez.

    a bit off topic from pediatrics of course, but I think the same underlying issues are present. doctors have power- doctors have had power since medieval times. and they’re rather reluctant to give any of it up. I have a sociology paper here somewhere that discusses how med students are socialized into being arrogant, controlling doctors. but it’s not just med school, of course, it’s society in general.

    I think fear is also a part of the equation, a part of why they are able to do what they do, in these incidences that this post is about. we fear sickness and death, and there’s so much about the human body that we don’t know in detail (unless we study it, as doctors and others do), and there’s so many diseases that are out there that look not so bad at first, but aren’t. so that fear of what we don’t know, the worst case scenario, feeds into their already large power base. we go to them because we fear what might happen if we don’t. and I think that oftentimes they insist that they know best because they fear what might happen if they don’t do what they know. and this arrogance, and social power, feeds into them not acknowledging when they don’t actually know for certain. so that they hang on to the illusion of all-knowingness and power even more. and just power in general.

    Susan Bordo talks about doctors and their tendency to try and control everything in her book Unbearable Weight. oh how great is Susan Bordo! I love her!

    *ahem* right, so anyways, she writes about doctors wanting to have control over the body as having connections to our society in general wanting to have control over the body, and female bodies and what female bodies DO, especially (birth, menstruation, menopause). ah good stuff. she so rocks.

    I totally respect your anger here, and I recognize that fear in myself– having been very sick (hyperthyroidism) I’m rather afraid of what else might come down the pike. it can be really hard to question them.

    I fear for Ms Carlsen. what the royal hell. I can’t help but wonder if there were other mitigating circumstances that might have encouraged social services to commandeer her baby like that. was she poor? had she been on social assistance? (I didn’t read the links. sorry! do my homework for me! 😉 ) not that that justifies it, but rather that her being poor, or if she had been a woman of colour and/or an immigrant woman, then it seems that social services would be more inclined to interfere. ie would they have interfered with the wishes of a rich mother? yuck.

    Posted by Cinder | June 26, 2006, 10:19 pm
  6. Having been a social worker for 14 years, I doubt very much that this was a case of someone being poor. It is a case of someone defying the priests of the medical establishment. If she had been “poor” it would have never reached the media. It is about who decides what is the correct medical procedure and a “stupid” mother who does not know what is best for her child. Pure patriarchial bullshit. I doubt very much that these “priests” explained anything in a coherent manner to her and she has reacted in an intuitive, instinctive manner. My heart goes out to her. No doubt the social workers involved would not risk trusting her, just in case they were wrong and had to rationalize their decision according to the government’s policy. After all, there is a mortage to pay and better safe than sorry. In other words, better her than me. Who is the victim here?

    Posted by rhondda | June 27, 2006, 12:04 am
  7. This just gets worse and worse. As it turns out, the surgery (which the judge has now ordered that the baby have) is surgery on the kidneys so that IF the baby gets sick, he can have dialysis. So much for the “if he doesn’t get the operation, he will die, put out an Amber Alert” bullshit. Then, also as it turns out, the baby’s kidney problems are congenital. Two of the mom’s relatives have the same condition. One never had ANY interventions at all and is fine. The other had a kidney transplant she regrets.

    THIS WOMAN IS IN JAIL ON $500,000 BOND!!! FOR KIDNAPPING!! Does anybody hear me? :::::::::::Heart shrieks into the universe::::::::::

    It’s such craziness– there’s another woman in the headlines right now here locally. She has something like six or seven convictions for drunk driving. Some years back she killed a woman she ran into when she was driving drunk, which prompted Washington to pass a bunch of new laws around drunk driving. Anyway, she just got picked up AGAIN for driving drunk. She is in jail on only $150,000 bond. And according to court records, she could conceivably make bail. Why is the mother a greater threat than this woman, to justify this huge difference in bond amounts?

    From the Seattle P-I:

    In a crowded Tacoma courtroom Monday, attorneys for Child Protective Services and the baby’s parents argued about what was best for the child.

    The father, Todd Rogers, has agreed to the surgery but feels he hasn’t gotten enough opportunity to ask doctors about the risks and whether dialysis will actually help his son, said his attorney, Deborah McFadden.

    Several of Carlsen’s relatives have had similar kidney trouble. One didn’t seek any medical treatment and is fine; another had a transplant and regrets it, McFadden said.

    The parents may also have trouble trusting doctors because when their baby was born, they were told they should “take him home and love him” because he would live for only a few weeks, their attorneys said.

    Carlsen’s lawyer, Mike Shipley, defended the parents’ right to look into other treatment options.

    “Just because a doctor says something, doesn’t make it so,” Shipley said. “They went and sought other answers to this medical problem.”

    But Child Protective Services’ attorney Karen Calhoun urged the judge to authorize the surgery. She said the baby’s kidneys are functioning poorly, leaving him at risk of dying from something as minor as a cold.

    She said while the situation is not an emergency, the baby would likely suffer “a slow-motion death” if he doesn’t have dialysis. If he gets it, she said, by the age of about 2 he might be able to get a transplant and have “an opportunity to live a normal life.”

    McCarthy ordered the surgery but set a hearing next week to determine whether the baby will remain in state care. He said Todd Rogers could have four hours of supervised visits with his baby each week and could be at the hospital — presumably in a waiting room — during the surgery.

    Rogers said he was crushed that he could see his son for only such limited hours and worried that the baby would be trying to heal from surgery in a room full of strangers.

    “I’m scared,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen now.”

    Carlsen, 34, remained in jail Monday on $500,000 bail. If convicted of the second-degree kidnapping charge she faces, she could be sentenced to up to a year in jail.


    Posted by womensspace | June 28, 2006, 6:37 pm
  8. ALSO. Why in HELL is the dad not being allowed to see the child?!!

    Surgery is traumatic for anybody, but a nine-month old is going to be terrified.


    Posted by womensspace | June 28, 2006, 6:44 pm
  9. Right on, Hearrt — every damn word.


    Posted by Bleu | July 1, 2006, 8:19 pm
  10. Heart, I was horrified to read about this story, and what’s worse, that Jo Schmoe on the street will be horrified too, but about the wrong thing. How indeed can a mother deny her child medical care?? Bullshit and bullshit. I echo your “FUCK YOU and Free Tina Carlsen” a thousand times. That poor little guy 😦 His mom tried her damndest. This is why I get so furious when people tell me how “important” child “protective” services are. They should be lined up and shot.

    Posted by Anniee | July 7, 2006, 3:14 pm
  11. Oh, and did I mention fuck the medical establishment as well? I thought I did. You were very wise to stay away from them completely, even if that meant risking being called “neglectful.” The less you bleep on their radar screens the better obviously.

    Posted by Anniee | July 7, 2006, 10:44 pm

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