Adoptive parents say a doctor, apparently distraught at his own divorce, refused to hand over their 2-day-old baby unless they "agreed to purchase a plane ticket for the birth mother to visit their daughter and only if plaintiffs agreed to return their daughter to the birth mother when she reached her fifth birthday."The Miami New Times article reporting the lawsuit starts: "It sounds like a tale adoptive parents tell around a campfire to scare each other sleepless." Indeed.
Alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, Nicole and Bienvenido Olivencia sued Dr. Felipe A. Caballero and Tenet Hialeah Healthsystem dba Hialeah Hospital, in Miami-Dade County Court.
The Olivencias say they traveled from their home in Virginia to Hialeah Hospital in Miami to bring home the baby they were adopting.
On Aug. 9, 2009, they say, they met Caballero, the doctor in charge of signing the 2-day-old baby's discharge papers.
"Felipe A. Caballero M.D. examined the newborn baby girl and determined her to be a well baby and signed the discharge at approximately 11:00 a.m.," according to the complaint.
Then, the Olivencias say, they met with the adoption agency social worker to begin the paperwork and accompany the social worker to the nursery, where custody of the child would be transferred to the social worker.
"When plaintiff and the adoption agency social worker arrived at the nursery Hialeah Hospital, employees informed then that defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. had wrongfully taken plaintiff's daughter outside the nursery and into a separate room without medical facilities for newborns," the complaint states.
The Olivencias say they "found defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. holding their daughter and rocking her with the lights off without their consent, against their will, contrary to Hialeah Hospital policy and procedures and in violation of his duties.
"The adoption agency social worker advised defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. that she required the plaintiff's daughter. Defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. ignored the adoption agency social worker and yelled at plaintiffs, ordering them into the room demanding they answer his questions. Fearing for the well-being and safety of their daughter who defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. was wrongfully holding captive at this point, plaintiffs complied.
"Defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. while continuing to hold plaintiffs' daughter captive and against plaintiffs' will began a verbal assault and personal offensive improper interrogation of plaintiffs, questioning their fitness as parents and insulting them, thereby causing severe emotional distress by his verbal abuse and their growing fear of potential harm to their daughter," according to the complaint.
The Olivencias say Caballero "threatened to call three different lawyers to prevent the adoption if his questions were not answered to his satisfaction.
"Eventually, defendant Felipe A. Caballero M.D. outrageously stated he would approve the adoption to plaintiffs only if plaintiffs agreed to purchase a plane ticket for the birth mother to visit their daughter and only if plaintiffs agreed to return their daughter to the birth mother when she reached her fifth birthday."
The Olivencias say they "were intimidated and coerced into" agreeing to Caballero's demands because they were "(d)esperate to have their daughter, distraught concerning her safety and fearing the adoption process was jeopardized ...".
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