Doris Freyre, case notes say, “stated that no one knows my child like me,” and that Marie’s dislocated hip would cause her great pain if she were strapped to a stretcher for hours. She added: “If something happens to my daughter I am holding all of you responsible for it.”
Caseworkers ignored her, too.
Because Freyre had no car — and because the private ambulance refused to allow her to join Marie — the judge’s order granting her unlimited visitation was worth nothing.
Marie made the trip to Miami-Dade alone.
Records show the two ambulance workers refused to take Marie’s seizure drugs with them; under the company’s policy, they were not allowed to administer medications in any case. According to a report detailing Tampa General Hospital’s care of Marie, the hospital neglected to ensure she was properly hydrated before she left. During her five-hour ambulance ride, she was given no water or food.
A September 2011 investigation by AHCA of how Tampa General discharged Marie to the nursing home faulted the hospital for a number of violations, including failing to ensure the child had enough fluids and was properly medicated. The hospital’s lack of “concern” for Marie, the report said, left her “in danger.”
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services placed the hospital under the status of “Immediate Jeopardy” following the review, the highest penalty under federal health regulations, said an AHCA spokeswoman. The following October, the federal agency removed the designation after Tampa General implemented a corrective action plan. AHCA also is seeking to fine the hospital $5,000 in the case, and a hearing in the matter is scheduled for Jan. 14 of next year.
Marie arrived in Miami Gardens the way she left Tampa: screaming.
AHCA records for the next 12 hours mention only four notations in the nursing home file, and two of them document Marie “screaming.” By 5:40 a.m. on April 27, 2011, Marie was described as having “labored” breathing. Five minutes later, she was unresponsive. The AHCA investigation concluded the child had been given none of her life-sustaining anti-seizure drugs, required three times each day.
Marie was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m. at Jackson North Medical Center. Cause of death: heart attack.
Within hours of Marie’s demise, a procurement agency was seeking her organs.
Doris Freyre called Tampa General the day her daughter died, case notes say. “The mother broke out crying and stated that Miami killed her daughter.”
Two weeks later, on May 9, 2011, Doris Freyre appeared one last time before a judge in Tampa, Emily Peacock, who declared herself “terribly sorry” for Freyre’s loss.
“I don’t accept your excuse,” the mother replied. Freyre said she was in court to get her daughter’s body back from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office. With no trust left for state officials, Freyre was seeking a private autopsy.
“It’s the mother’s position that the [state] had the child removed without proper authorization,” said her attorney, Laguerra Champagne. “She objected to the child being physically removed from Hillsborough County and transported to Miami. No court hearing was held and, unfortunately, we’re here today, dealing with a dead child instead of a living child.”
Freyre, another lawyer said, “had a right to make a request as to the medical treatment of her child,” and had the state not robbed her of that right, Marie “perhaps may even still be alive today.”
Attilla, the prosecutor who, weeks earlier, had fought so hard to get Marie to the nursing home, no longer wanted to discuss the matter. She told Peacock that a child welfare judge had no “jurisdiction” over a dead child and prosecutors would file a court motion saying so.
“Not to seem insensitive; I understand the mother is quite frustrated and I understand that she’s grieving,” Atilla said, “but the information that she’s providing to the court is moot at this point in time.”
Despite Atilla’s protestations, Freyre had the last word.
“I had her for 14 year – cared [for] and loved her,” Freyre said. “And you have her …in prison, in the hospital, without going out in the sun, without being with other people, in prison.”
“Then, in  hours, you took her down to Miami and she died,” Freyre added. “And I want the truth of this to come out. I want justice.”
Marie’s body remained in storage for nine months while the M.E.’s office completed its autopsy, and Freyre held a memorial with no body. In the end, Marie’s body was cremated in Tampa. Her ashes then were sent to Puerto Rico for a private family funeral.