Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Another nurse battling on the frontline to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has lost custody of her child after a judge agreed that there was a risk the youngster could become infected with the disease.
In the latest incident, a judge in Brazil has ordered that her son, 7, can be taken away from his mother because she is a nurse and comes into contact with COVID-19 patients.
The unnamed woman lives in the state of Mato Grosso in the Central-West Region of Brazil and the case follows on from a similar case in Turkey where a nurse had her son taken away after her estranged husband argued that her job was a health risk for the youngster.
These rulings come despite an August study by the British Medical Journal that found that the risk of children needing hospital treatment for COVID-19 was “tiny” if they even caught it in the first place.
In the latest incident in Brazil, local media reported that the nurse split up with her ex-husband two years ago, and the pair agreed in court that their seven-year-old son would live with his mother and spend holidays with his father, who lives in the state of Parana in the country’s South Region.
However, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nurse was concerned for her son’s welfare and decided that he should stay with his father for a few months.
The boy went to stay with his father in March but has still not returned. Instead, the boy’s father went to court to request a change of custody, claiming that his son had adapted to his new routine and allegedly wished to stay with his father.
In a controversial decision, the court decided that the health risk was enough to grant emergency guardianship to the boy’s father, meaning that his son can continue to live with him in Parana.
It is not known when the ruling took place. However, it was reported by local media on 6th December.
In the decision, the judge quoted “the danger of harm, especially taking into account the mother’s profession, nursing, and due to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is not under control in any state of the federation.”
It is unknown precisely where the boy’s mother and father reside. However, some 1,370 kilometres (851 miles) separate the geographical centre of Mato Grosso and that of Parana.
The mother told local media: “Can I not be a mother and a nurse? Will I have to leave my profession to be able to look after my son?
“I’m outraged, not only as a mother because I’m being prevented from coming close to my son, but because it’s a profession that was paramount in this pandemic period.”
The case echoes that of 31-year-old nurse Cemile Deniz, who lost custody of her five-year-old son to her ex-husband after a Turkish court ruled her job was a health risk. The case was reported in November.
However the court, in that case, failed to take into account that the husband was a police officer and was also dealing with the public almost as much as the woman, and therefore the court reversed the decision after it was reported worldwide.
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