Coronavirus Concerns Lead to Custody Battle for South Florida Doctor

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Dr. Theresa Greene is at the tip of the spear in the fight against COVID-19. She’s an emergency room physician, and a divorced parent who just lost shared custody of her daughter.

"I feel like the family court system now is stressing me almost more than the virus, I mean this is a very stressful time for healthcare professionals," Greene said. 

Greene tested negative for coronavirus this week. Her four-year-old daughter splits her time equally between her mom and dad, but this week, the child’s father, Eric Greene, asked for and received an emergency order demanding sole custody until the pandemic is over.

In his court order, Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro wrote, “In order to protect the best interests of the minor child, including but not limited to the minor child’s safety and welfare, this Court temporarily suspends the Former Wife’s timesharing until further Order of Court. The suspension is solely related to the outbreak of COVID-19.”

“I was just shocked that the judge would take this stance without talking to medical experts and knowing the facts and take it so lightly, take my child from me and not think of the effect on her, her mental and psychological well-being,” Greene said, explaining that all available evidence shows coronavirus usually does not strongly impact young children. 

In his order, the judge makes it clear that he did not take this action lightly but due to the state of the pandemic in Florida, he felt he had to do this to protect the health of the child.

“I know I’m not alone, first responders, nurses, so many people in this position who, because they’re divorced, their children are suffering and they're being told they can’t see them, and it’s just not fair,” Greene said. 

She points out that the American Medical Association’s position on this issue is that frontline physicians during this pandemic should be able to go home to their families and to their children, as long as they take the proper precautions.

We reached out to Eric Greene’s attorney but he said it’s not appropriate to comment on this case.

Meanwhile, Theresa Greene feels like she’s having to chose between her child and her calling.

“You know I took an oath and I really believe in that, that’s why I went into medicine, to help people,” Greene said. 

So her battle against the virus will continue in the emergency room, while she appeals the ruling in a courtroom. 

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