As American Idol alumna Syesha Mercado fights to regain custody of her son, a petition has started to get Florida physician Dr. Sally Smith fired for her role in “wrongfully” accusing dozens of parents of abuse.
Dr. Smith is the medical director for the Pinellas County Child Protective Services team and a contracted child abuse pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, FL, according to a USA Today investigative report.
A Change.Org petition calls out Dr. Smith’s history of wrongfully accusing parents of child abuse. A USA Today Network investigation linked Smith to hundreds of child abuse cases where parents were either proven innocent or suffered severe trauma due to her accusations.
“This doctor too hastily diagnoses child abuse, ripping apartment families,” the petition states. “We ask that the Pinellas County Child Protective Services and her affiliated hospitals strongly consider terminating her contract due to her actions.
“The Florida Department of Health should investigate this case to consider license termination due to acting below the standards of medical care.”
So far, the petition has garnered nearly 12,000 signatures with Mercado and her partner Tyrone Deneer receiving support from the likes of Kim Kardashian and many others hoping to see her family fully reunited.
Mercado and Deneer hosted a virtual press conference last week where the distraught mother shed tears while begging for help in getting her two children back. The American Idol finalist has since been reunited with her daughter but is still waiting to get her toddler son back, NBC News reported.
“We still got work to do to get Ra back,” Deener said in an Instagram video, thanking the public and their legal team for support.
“Just know through the people, through you all we were able to counteract this unjust system and this corruption to be able to get our baby back.”
The couple’s daughter was taken by Child Protective Services in Florida just days after Mercado gave birth. Their 13-month-old son, Amen’Ra, was taken on Feb 26. after the couple took him to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg for dehydration due to the child’s struggle to transition from breast milk to solid foods.
However, instead of Amen’Ra being released back to his parents, Dr. Smith had their son taken by CPS, Scary Mommy reported. Their attorney, Derrick McBurrows, said CPS accused Mercado of not taking her son to a medical visit prior to bringing him to Johns Hopkins. But the lawyer says that’s a complete lie.
Some other accusations that Smith made, according to USA Today Network:
- ”Smith testified that the head injuries on an infant boy in Pasco County were inflicted by his father. But Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal overturned the removal, saying Smith’s conclusions were based “primarily on her assessment of the father’s credibility, not on the available medical reports.” The ruling also pointed to significant inconsistencies in Smith’s medical notes.
- Beata Kowalski, a 43-year-old mother of two, died by suicide in 2017 after Smith accused her of Munchausen syndrome by proxy—a rare disorder in which a parent fakes a child’s illness for sympathy or gain. Her family members are now suing Smith and All Children’s Hospital for what they said were trumped-up claims.
- John Stewart, a Marine Corps veteran, spent 300 days in jail on Smith’s allegation that he killed his girlfriend’s son by throwing him repeatedly against a soft surface. Prosecutors dropped the charges after a neuropathologist contradicted Smith’s findings, according to internal memos.”