Psychiatric services have been in the news lately, with many doctors being fired or losing their licenses for negligence.
One such case, though, is raising some eyebrows: A psychologist’s custody battle is now in court.
Dr. Eric Johnson is currently fighting for custody of his two daughters, who were born with severe intellectual disabilities.
The girls were diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, the MTHFR gene, which can cause genetic disorders such as Tay-Sachs, a condition in which babies with a genetic defect that causes them to have a certain amount of body fat and body hair are born with an abnormality in their brain.
The family was in a very serious financial situation and had just moved into an apartment with a child with severe cognitive problems, Johnson told VICE News.
They were also living in a trailer park with their two young daughters, and their oldest child, who is a teenager, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Johnson, who has worked in mental health since 2007, was ordered by a court to take the girls into his custody and has been fighting that order ever since.
The case is currently being appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In an interview with VICE News, Johnson described his situation as “totally frustrating” and said that he was not expecting the court to uphold his custody order.
Johnson said he would have preferred the court take the case to trial but that “the judge’s not there, so it’s not really an option.”
According to court records, the family was previously placed in an adoptive home, which Johnson and his wife, Trish, said would have prevented them from getting a hearing with the judge and possibly even had the court order a new hearing, where they would have been able to present more information.
Johnson said he and Trish were forced to leave their two children in a hospital room when they were still at home because the judge refused to hear their case.
Trish and Johnson are currently raising their youngest daughter in a foster home.
Johnson has a lengthy record of being sued by the government, including lawsuits for negligence, false imprisonment, and child abuse.
He also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a mental health professional, who he alleged had lied to him about the mental health issues the patient had.
Johnson is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for assault on a police officer, a misdemeanor conviction that resulted in him being stripped of his license to practice medicine.
In addition, he was ordered to pay $2,500 in fines.