July 23, 2010 / 8:40 PM / 9 years ago

Blind Missouri couple may sue over baby seizure

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters Life!) - A blind Missouri couple may file a lawsuit against the state for taking away their newborn child due to their disability, the couple’s attorney said on Friday.

“There are going to be other blind or visually impaired people walking into hospitals and having babies. We don’t want this to happen again,” said Amy Coopman, who successfully challenged the state’s seizure in May of the then-2-day-old daughter of Erika Johnson and Blake Sinnett of Independence, Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Social Services took the girl, named Mikaela, away from her blind parents shortly after her birth after a nurse commented about problems Johnson was having in feeding the baby.

The couple challenged the seizure, but only was allowed limited supervised visits with their daughter for two months until the state dropped the custody case and returned the girl on Tuesday.

Coopman said in an interview with Reuters that even though Mikaela is home with her parents, action needs to be taken to protect other blind parents.

Five years ago, a California couple nearly lost custody of their newborn baby after San Mateo County officials questioned whether they were physically capable of caring for the child.

Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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