After delivering twin girls in August, Amber McCullough learned some devastating news: one of her babies was unlikely to survive.
Savannah, called Hannah, and Olivia, who were born conjoined at the chest, abdomen, and pelvis, underwent a lengthy separation surgery shortly after being delivered by C-section. Olivia didn't make it through the intensive operation and Hannah was left in critical condition.
After their birth, McCullough had nothing but praise for Colorado Children's Hospital, writing on her GoFundMe page, "Without Children's Hospital of Colorado, neither of my daughters would have had a chance. They didn't put me off or turn me away contingent on guarantee of payment like most places do. Instead, they told me to just get her and we'd figure it out from there. I truly consider this place to be a miracle factory full of compassion."
However, McCullough is now claiming that months later, this same hospital banned her from visiting her surviving daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit as retaliation for speaking up about an issue she witnessed. In November, McCullough filed a complaint alleging that the hospital was slow to help her daughter in a dangerous situation. Four days later, her visitation was cut to two hours a day and a behavioral agreement was put in place. McCullough wrote:
After reporting a sentinel event involving too much heparin, a broviac placement, a hematoma that extended past her jawline and into her face with a nurse refusing to call a doctor, then spraying blood profusely from her neck, and then learning that the CT they took identified air bubbles in her neck from a hematoma before they ever sent her back up in the first place, they just didn't read it until hours later, after all that we were retaliated against for having filed complaints to make sure that it never happens again.
According to McCullough's attorney James Avery, the hospital created the behavioral agreement for McCullough, claiming she "exhibited disruptive behavior to staff and interfered with the ability to take care of other patients."
The new mom says that she has proof of the hospital's lies and is suing the hospital to give a voice to parents while also holding them accountable. "I wised up some time ago not to step foot in that place without a recorder in my bra," McCullough said.
Since speaking out, McCullough's visitation has been reinstated as long as she doesn't record any further conversations but cannot see Hannah from Sunday through Tuesday.