Woman is reported to CPS by a holistic doctor when what she thought was a skin rash turned out to be caked-on dirt

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*

I am the type of person who believes in science, and therefore goes to real medical doctors when I have a problem. I guess I am just one of those people who put their faith in the doctors who went to medical school in my stead to learn things to help me on my behalf.

I get that modern medicine has been an evolving thing since the beginning of time. Every year more discoveries and breakthroughs are made that help people who are sick and prevent them from getting sick in the first place. I trust the history that has shown certain vaccinations, like for polio, have all but eradicated the disease from the United States. In 2022 there was one single case of polio in the US, and of course, it was in an unvaccinated individual.

Even though I accept the fact that medicine has evolved from experimenting with herbs and fungi and bacteria that grow naturally in the wild, I won’t do something that feels to me like going backward in the evolution of science. I won’t seek out the advice of holistic doctors.

My friend Thea, on the other hand, is just the type of person who does not trust modern medicine and is holistic all the way. She herself was vaccinated as a child, but her kids are not. Thea was able to finagle a religious medical exemption for her kids even though it was a lie because they aren’t religious at all.

When things are wrong with Thea’s children, she consults the internet first on how to handle things naturally on her own, and if that doesn’t work she will spend the money and make the long drive to take her kids to the holistic doctor almost two hours away from her house. So, when she noticed her son Ben had a strange, brownish-looking skin rash on his ankles, she asked the internet, which told her not to worry or do anything with it unless it got worse or itchy.

This “rash” on Ben did not go away for over a week, so she finally took him to her holistic doctor.

When she arrived at the clinic with Ben, her doctor was horrified to see the truth of what was going on with Ben’s skin. It wasn’t a strange brown rash at all. It was dirt, caked onto his ankles, and left there from weeks of not being bathed.

Thea’s reaction apparently horrified the doctor, because Thea just laughed it off when asked how often she gave her kids baths. Thea said she left it up to her children to care for their own bodies as they are people too, who need their own body autonomy.

The holistic doctor, knowing the children weren’t bathed nearly regularly enough, reported Thea to Child Protective Services for neglect, prompting a home visit that found Thea was also living in a filthy hoard of a house with her kids.

The kids were removed for some time and placed with their grandparents, which is one good thing about this story, at least they didn’t go into the foster care system while Thea sorted her life out.

Do you think Thea deserved to lose her kids for a while?

Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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I write about the weird complexities of relationships to make a better life for me and my daughter through words. https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

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