DSS Forces Catheter into Three-Year-Old Boy; Avera Complicit in Torture

O.K., you tell me what evidence is so vital that it justifies the state forcibly inserting anything into a human being and draining bodily fluids?

Kirsten Hunter said her 3-year-old son, Aksel, was forcefully catheterized at the Avera hospital in Pierre in late February after her boyfriend failed a urine analysis. Authorities wanted to have her and her two children tested to see if they also had drugs in their system.

Pierre police officers and a Department of Social Services employee showed up at her home and said if her kids couldn’t produce urine, they would be taken from her. Hunter said her son isn’t potty-trained. So while she and her 5-year-old daughter were able to provide a urine sample, her young son couldn’t.

He was held down and forcibly catheterized by nurses.

“They just shoved it right up there, and he screamed so bad,” Hunter said. “He’s still dealing with a staph infection, and we are still giving him medication” [Mark Walker, “Hooded, Handcuffed, and ‘Violated’: South Dakota’s Use of Forced Catheterization,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.04.07].

Walker reports that Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre collaborates in this violation of human rights. Sanford Health issued a statement to the press saying it does not secure samples by force.

In a letter to our Department of Social Services, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says sucking urine out of a three-year-old boy is “unconcscionable and inhumane,” “barbaric,” and quite possibly a violation of the Fourth Amendment. “Individuals have a right to bodily privacy and integrity and a child should be accorded the right to remain free of catheterization in all circumstances related to the work of DSS,” writes ACLU-SD.

Apparently case law is still unclear on forced catheterization. South Dakota Supreme Court Justice Richard Sabers mentioned forced catheterization in his dissent in a 1999 case concerning a urine sample obtained under alleged threat:

Although the police did not use physical force to obtain the sample of Hanson’s urine, the officer who obtained the sample testified that he was “going to take a urine sample one way or the other.” Had Hanson refused to comply with his order, forced catheterization would have been used to obtain the urine sample. The majority cannot argue that that procedure would be “more reasonable and less intrusive … than … attempting to secure a warrant.” Forced catheterization would be a substantial intrusion of the integrity of an individual’s body. It goes well beyond the intrusion involved in obtaining a blood sample from a person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol [Justice Richard Sabers, dissent, State v. Hanson, 1999].

The Fourth Amendment argument here should be pretty clear: if police cannot force a suspects to surrender words, police should not be able to force suspects to surrender fluids or anything else from within their bodies. If case law can’t make that clear to South Dakota police officers and the medical personnel collaborating in this torture, then statute should. Legislators, in 2018, you need to outlaw forced catheterization.

For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions [United Nations, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 1 Section 1, 1984.12.10].


30 Responses to DSS Forces Catheter into Three-Year-Old Boy; Avera Complicit in Torture

  1. This sounds like something Pierre would do and I am sure they have done this to plenty of Native Americans also. Glad this story came out.

  2. Randee Huber

    The policing of “possible drug use” has become a Nazi nightmare. Who do these people think they are? The Gestapo? Sickening.

  3. Tyler Schumacher

    Not at all surprised that doctor Maningas is involved in the practice. He doesn’t actually care about his patients, even if you aren’t brought there by the police.

  4. mike from iowa

    Ever get the idea that the “State” of South Dakota doesn’t give a flying fig about citizen’s civil rights?

  5. Roger Elgersma

    A blood sample would detect drugs as well. And as you say, that would be far less intrusive. We do not need to teach kids that the cops or hospitals are sexually abusive. But since there are better ways to prove if there is a problem, they should have done a blood sample.

  6. So her boyfriend failed a drug test. How does that translate into wanting/asking/forcing the girlfriend and her kids to be tested?

  7. Even I, a proponent of drug testing for welfare, have a problem with this. There are numerous ways to get a urine sample besides catheterization. For the testing they wanted to do, there are much better tests, along with easier ways to get a sample.

    We also need to apply some common sense. A 3 year old using drugs? I suppose it is possible, however, the little tyke would need some help. I hope DSS is review some of its policies.

  8. Stace Nelson

    Good to see that my liberal friends see how brutal and barbaric such invasive medical procedures are to a born child. Now if we can get you to understand an invasive medical procedure that tears them brutally apart to murder them in the privacy of their placenta is even more reprehensible and barbaric.

  9. Pretty snarky there Nelson. Hey, I know, lets compare your voting record with reality. Get that concealed zeal going with blondi to feather your creeds.

  10. Didn’t Stace at one time make it clear to this blog he didn’t care about what happened to kids after they were born?

  11. Mr. Nelson was catheter certified back when he was a Marine.

  12. Roger Cornelius

    Since Stace has an inability to stay on topic I too will deviate.

    Perhaps Stace would like to make a comment about the tremendous amount of gun violence in this country.

  13. Jeezuz Stace. Jeezuz. Mr “I’m the king of law enforcement” guy, doesn’t even address the flagrant constitutional and abusive issues here. HAS to somehow, and moronically, attempt to compare what is described here, to abortion. WOW.

    What happened to this boy AND the family in Pierre, is reprehensible. Fourth amendment issues? Absolutely! Heads should roll on this, but I doubt they will, sadly. But more importantly, there needs to be some intervention with this family. These are years of nightmares in the works. This is horrific, plain and simple.

  14. mike from iowa

    Nelson is supposed to uphold the constitution-all of it-even the parts he disagrees with. Yet he runs around with a concealed contempt for the institution he swore to protect and defend. Bad Nelson, bad.

  15. This sounds like a crystal clear violation of a 3 year old boy’s civil rights warranting a §1983 lawsuit. No wonder nobody involved with the torture wants to talk about it. Find a lawyer – parents. Sue their arses.

  16. Even better, what grounds were used to investigate the girl-friend and her children ??
    … and no warrant ?
    Do the police blood test everyone when investigating a DUI ??
    It’s becoming pretty clear that the only thing any citizen can say to the police is “Lawyer.”

  17. Stace, so what you’re saying is that as long as you don’t get to control women’s bodies and decisions, it’s all right for law enforcement and Social Services to torture three year old! Wow, just wow!

  18. In South Dakota, you are now guilty until proven innocent. With that in mind, why didn’t law enforcement (?) simply beat a confession from the child. Taser or waterboard the little feller until he confessed. The Inquisition between Church and State is what has been missing in the Avera system for some time. Great to have it back since the days of Columbus. The white pointy hats seem to be back in style as well. To the dungeon with you little man, the racks await!

  19. My question is what training have these police officers and DSS employees had to be able to insert a foley cath/straight cath to obtain a sterile sample of urine. If done improperly they could cause damage to this small children even adults. As a nurse I say they have no business attempting to perform this procedure—how traumatic. If absolutely necessary then take the time to take them to a medical facility that can perform the procedure properly, is trained in educating a pt prior to insertion, knows proper technique etc…..

  20. Get used to this, folks. Just read an article on our new AG, Beauregard Sessions. He wants to crank up the old 1980s/1990s “war on drugs” with it’s minimum sentencing statutes. I have not researched his connections to private prisons, but I have to think those folks are ecstatic! Have fun, Trumpsters! Enjoy your trucker hats because that is probably going to be the most useful part of this administration.

  21. On the bright side, SD was able to make the NATIONAL NEWS… again!

  22. mike from iowa

    Why is perjurer Sessions still Attorney Degenerate? At least 5 of Drumpf’s cabinet members lied to congress and still have their jobs. Kushner didn’t bother to tell congress about his secret meetings with Putin’s banker and he has a dozen job titles. Drumpf lies every time he opens his mouth but HRC was the crook?

  23. Robin Page

    Dear Friends in South Dakota – When are you going to stop complaining about these abuses of citizen rights and DO something about it? This kind of abuse goes on all the time and only when it hits the news media do people cry out. Don’t you think it is past time for the SD citizens to file a class action suit(s) against your government and it’s leaders? I moved my family away from South Dakota to keep my children safe from the institutional racism that is so prevalent. We miss our friends and family, but even my kids understand why we can never move “back home”. Stand up and act!

  24. Let this be a cautionary tale, to those who toke the demon weed.

    When they tell you to pee in the cup, pee in the cup.

  25. IMO what happened to the little boy is aggravated assault and those who perpetrated it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  26. On second thought, it is more than aggravated assault. It is a rape. The officers should be forced to register as sex offenders.

  27. jeanninewilber

    wake up all of you indolent citizens of south dakota–sewer falls in particular with all of your self righteousness; no. I have not already said this; this is another example of what transpires here!

  28. Does this sound like the kind of story that Angela Kennecky should be investigating?? Has this been reported by any of the TV news programs?

  29. Rape, assault—I agree. I still can’t think of a crime so grave or evidence so vital that it justifies this sort of physical invasion of anyone, not an innocent child, not even a potentially guilty suspect.

  30. Had DSS or other government employees put their hands on my grandchild in that manner, there immediately would have been some seriously asskicking ensuing, and screw the consequences. What a gaggle of fascist pricks. A three-year-old boy. That’s your so-called “War on Drugs” for you! Feel safer, folks?