Miami doctor temporarily loses custody of 4-year-old daughter due to coronavirus

MIAMI (CNN) - An emergency room doctor in Miami is appealing the emergency order that temporarily stripped her of custody of her 4-year-old daughter while she treats patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Theresa Greene, an emergency medicine physician in Miami, calls the judge’s order discriminatory after it suspended her shared custody of her 4-year-old daughter with her ex-husband, Eric Greene. She is appealing the ruling that the judge said would “protect the best interests and health of the minor child.”

Theresa Greene and her ex-husband have been divorced for almost two years and have split time with their daughter evenly. She says if they were still married, no one would be questioning whether she could go home to her daughter.

Dr. Theresa Greene and her ex-husband have been divorced for almost two years and have split time with their 4-year-old daughter evenly. She says if they were still married, no one would be questioning whether she could go home to her daughter.
Dr. Theresa Greene and her ex-husband have been divorced for almost two years and have split time with their 4-year-old daughter evenly. She says if they were still married, no one would be questioning whether she could go home to her daughter. (Source: Theresa Greene/CNN)

“I think it’s not fair. It’s cruel to ask me to choose between my child and the oath I took as a physician,” she said. “I won’t abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it’s torture.”

The doctor says she’s been able to wear full personal protective equipment while treating patients, and she’s done everything she can to avoid contracting COVID-19. She also says her daughter generally stays with her ex-husband when she works.

"Yes, it is severe, and there’s danger. We're being very careful," she said. "We use everything we can. I've actually worn equipment above and beyond to protect myself and my child."

Theresa Greene says her daughter doesn’t understand what’s happening, due to her age. She says she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to see her again in person because there’s no way to know when the pandemic will be over.
Theresa Greene says her daughter doesn’t understand what’s happening, due to her age. She says she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to see her again in person because there’s no way to know when the pandemic will be over. (Source: Theresa Greene/CNN)

Theresa Greene says her daughter doesn’t understand what’s happening, due to her age. She says she doesn’t know when she’ll be able to see her again in person because there’s no way to know when the pandemic will be over.

“She knows Mommy's sad… [but] she doesn't understand. I really worry about the toll that's going to take on her,” she said. "I want her, when she grows up, to be proud of me by abiding by the oath that I took when I went into medicine, but I also know that she needs me now."

Eric Greene’s attorney, Paul Leinoff, said in a statement that they “have the upmost respect for Dr. Greene’s commitment to her critical work during this pandemic." He says she will be “provided future make-up timesharing for each day missed during this challenging time and daily video communication” with her daughter.

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