Emergency room doctor temporarily loses custody of 4-year-old daughter amid coronavirus crisis

Healthcare workers all over the world are having to make the extremely difficult decision to isolate themselves from their families while they fight on the front lines against the coronavirus.

Some have chosen to self-isolate in a secluded part of their home, while others have taken more drastic measures and are living in a trailer parked outside their home. While dramatic, it’s all in an effort to protect their family.

And that’s what a judge told Dr. Theresa Greene when he ruled that her ex-husband be granted temporary custody of their four-year-old daughter.


“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,” Greene told CNN.

Greene is an emergency room doctor in Miami and is currently working long hours. While at work, her ex-husband, Eric Greene who she has been divorced from for two years, watches the couple’s daughter. Since the divorce their daughter has split time between her parents evenly.

However, recently Eric filed an emergency order to gain sole custody of their daughter, and a judge ruled in his favor saying it was in the best interest of the child’s health.


Theresa feels discriminated for being a divorced parent, but the judge, Circuit Court Judge Bernard Shapiro said that’s not the case.

“The Court does not enter this Order lightly but given the pandemic in Florida and the recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Court finds in order to insulate and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this Order must be entered on a temporary basis,” the court ruling said.

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

Ultimately, the ruling was based off the family’s individual’s circumstances and with the interest of the couple’s daughter’s health and safety in mind.

Eric’s attorney, Paul Leinoff, said in a statement that the ruling was not meant to serve as a blanket rule, and for every missed day Theresa would be provided a make-up day in the future.

But Theresa is still concerned. Their daughter is too young to understand what’s going on and there’s no way to predict when she’ll be able to see her, though she is allowed daily video communication.

“I want her when she grows up to be proud of me by abiding to the oath that I took when I went into medicine, but I also know that she needs me now.”

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