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Casey`s Mental Evaluation Unsealed
Aired January 11, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Inside the mind of Casey Anthony. The psych evaluation is now public, the details shocking. Twisted accusations, revelations about Caylee`s father and Casey`s thin grasp of reality. Even the doctors were baffled and concerned.
And later, a young boy dies from cancer. His parents never took him to the doctor. Now they are facing jail time for manslaughter. Was this poverty or was this negligence?
Let`s get started.
And tonight, inside Casey Anthony`s mental evaluation. Top secrets, sealed Casey Anthony documents have been released now to the public.
Now, we`ve heard with Casey`s lawyers say happened. We`ve heard what the prosecution thinks happened. We spent hours and now years speculating about it, but tonight for the very first time, we`re hearing what Casey says to a doctor really happened to Caylee the day she went missing.
She accuses her dad, George, of sexual abuse and explicitly cold- blooded murder of Caylee. She reveals disturbing details about Caylee`s father and why his identity remained a mystery.
Now, again, I`m holding up documents like I want to do. This is part of the depositions that were released today. I`ve had a chance to look over a little of it, about 400 pages, and if you remember back to what I used to - when I used to look at the depositions and the interviews from the police officers that were interviewing her, I get the exact same feeling when I read this stuff, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies. Casey again, all over again.
And I think unfortunately doctors failed here. They tried, but they failed. I don`t understand why they didn`t immediately give more formal testing of a neuropsychiatric nature to figure out what was bothering them, which was is there something wrong with Casey`s brain.
They noted she was making them uncomfortable of her affect, meaning her mood seemed wrong. She seemed unusually happy. There was a disconnect.
Let me read you. I`ve got to read you something right out of this thing, permit me.
She said - this is the doctor - this is the doctor who was there to decide whether or not she was competent. And she says, in July of 2008, I didn`t have any trouble saying, look, she`s competent to proceed, like she knows right and wrong, she knows reality from not reality. But what puzzled me - this is the deposition from the doctor who did the psychiatric evaluation - why was she so blasted cheerful and why when I do the subjective test, which are these psychological tests, does it come out perfectly normal? Now that puzzled me.
And there they left it. Now, they believed most of what she said, a giant mistake when doctors believe their patients, and a giant mistake when they don`t trust their instinct. This guy was standing up and worrying about the stuff that didn`t make sense.
Going straight to my guest tonight, Forensic Psychologist Dr. Harry Krop, he spent 20 hours with Casey evaluating her. I believe we`re having technical problems getting him. He`s going to join us by phone if we can get a hold of him.
You remember him, we spoke to him at the very, very end of the Casey Anthony trial. He was the one that evaluated her as sort of an exit. And he - in his psych testing - again, not the neuropsych, but psych testing - said, well, she`s narcissistic but everything else came out normal. Same nonsense this guy was worrying about.
Of course, Mark Eiglarsh, my old buddy on this issue joins us here.
And correspondent with "In Session" on TruTV Beth Karas. Beth, can you give us the latest?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: Well, you know what, you just read - that passage you just read comes from the forensic psychiatrist who evaluated her for competency on July 26th and he did administer the test, the MMPI and he said a particular scale that measures reaction to trauma, whether she is - she had something to do with her daughter`s disappearance or she`s being falsely accused, he thought, you know, she`s this good mother, she claims she wanted this baby, she didn`t want an abortion. She didn`t want to give her for adoption. Those are the best three years of her life.
She not only didn`t score high on that particular skill for trauma reaction, she scored low, so that`s part of what really puzzled him. So these - some of the details that have come out are new to us, a lot of the stuff in here actually summarizes what Jose Baez said in his opening statement, but he departs a little bit from Casey`s story. There are things that in here that just don`t make sense.
And these doctors didn`t challenge her. They didn`t - their job, they say, was just to get her statement, try to figure her out, but not challenge her. Maybe they didn`t know the facts well enough to say wait a second, that doesn`t make sense because Casey says the sexual abuse from her father ended at - she tells one doctor 11, the other one 12.
Yet she also said when she got pregnant at the age of 18, she thought it might have been her father who caused it. That I would have - if I was the doctor said, wait a second, I thought you said it ended when you`re 11 or 12, but now you`re saying he might have impregnated you at 18?
PINSKY: And then she came back with another story where she said she may have been slipped something in a bar, and woke up and thought she was pregnant. And - hey, don`t move that. I want to tell the story about George in a second.
But then she also came back after saying she knew the baby was dead and had described George with the baby, which I`m going to read for you in just a second, then came back and said, oh, I know she`s alive. I know I can feel her she`s out there somewhere.
Here`s what she said about what George - how, what George did with the baby. She said, quote, "She didn`t think it was possible that it was an accident. She said the ladder wasn`t attached to the pool when I last saw it. It was too heavy. I couldn`t move it, a child couldn`t move it. I think he held her under water. Maybe he was doing something to her and tried to cover it up."
I think, Mark Eiglarsh, even the defense team couldn`t tell that lie.
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Listen, Drew, nothing is new here. Anything that has ever flowed from her lips cannot be considered. It`s coming from a source that is void of credibility.
Secondly, the same detail that she provided about Zanny, the Nanny taking her daughter, she provide the same detail about her father. You cannot believe anything. There`s no mystery here.
Her showing defects of character, her showing lack of emotion in the jail, her acting in a bizarre manner is nothing new, before, during, or after her child went missing. There`s nothing new in my opinion here.
PINSKY: I agree with you, Mark. It hasn`t changed anything for me at all, although it is interesting to see how the defense team took her lies and then tweak them, didn`t go all the way with them, because the jury would never believe that. But tweaked them in a way that eventually got her off. Watch this.
EIGLARSH: Not a surprise to me, because that`s the defense function.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, CASEY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Casey came around this corner and went back, she saw George Anthony holding Caylee in his arms. She immediately grabbed Caylee and began to cry and cry and cry.
And shortly thereafter, George began to yell at her, look what you`ve done! Your mother will never forgive you and you will go to jail for child neglect for the rest of your freaking life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Hey, Mark, we kind of thought that Jose was the one that thought of some of these defense strategies we heard in the opening statement. But lo and behold, this is kind of new information. It turns out it was Casey after all.
EIGLARSH: Well, I never thought that he completely manufactured this. I think - I always thought it came from her, it began with her. He took some liberties and twist and turned it a little bit, that`s always can be attributed to his client. That`s what`s done.
His job is to spare her life, I don`t blame him in any way. There`s no big mystery here. The mystery of her being a bizarre person throughout her life, that`s not a mystery. What is a mystery is that earlier today I looked at my watch several times and I still didn`t know what time it was. That`s a mystery.
PINSKY: Beth, you have something to say there?
KARAS: Well, I wanted to add that when Jose talked about finding her dead in the pool and showing her a wet, dead Caylee, she told Dr. Weiss, the forensic psychologist a different story. I mean, some of it`s that, but she said he came into the house with her body and she, Casey, held her daughter and then her father said don`t worry, daddy will make it all better and took Caylee and somehow, you know, she never saw Caylee again.
PINSKY: Oh, you guys -
KARAS: And so that departs from what Jose said at the trial.
PINSKY: This is such a familiar feeling, Mark Eiglarsh. You know, I`m going to avoid my pink liquid for the moment, but it`s not just the G.I. distress, it`s disgust. I get disgusted again.
Now, again, I`ve been trying to point out to people, I think many of you are aware that van der Sloot admitted his guilt today, you know, I don`t know, Mark, how you`d refer to that from a defense attorney`s point of view, but that`s a bad guy. That`s a horrible, horrible guy that kills people in a cunning, premeditated, gets off on killing.
And I`m trying to help people understand that Casey`s not that, doesn`t make her any less disgusting. And when you see the lies, it just - it just brings it all back home, doesn`t it? It`s hard for me to -
EIGLARSH: Well, Drew, I don`t -
PINSKY: Yes, Mark.
EIGLARSH: Drew, in making conclusions about Casey Anthony, it seems like you have greater insight to what really happened than any of us do. I still to this day do not know exactly why she - who is responsible for her daughter`s death, what she did, was it first-degree murder, did she plan it out, I don`t know. And you know what? I still keep open the idea that it might have been her getting rid of her child so she can live the beautiful life.
And if so, I don`t know, I don`t excuse that conduct. I don`t think that maybe she`s less defective than van der Sloot.
PINSKY: If you`re right, see, I don`t think that`s what it is. I think a lot of people do think that`s what it is. I`m not going to put her in that category yet. God knows.
If she is in that category, we will hear from her again and that poor little dog she`s adopted may be the first one up, by the way. But if you`re right, she does belong in the same category of van der Sloot.
Coming up, more from the unsealed Casey deposition files. You can read the full document at HLNTV.com.
Plus, is Casey firing her Attorney Jose Baez? We`re hearing something about that and you want to stay with us.
PINSKY: All right, now tonight Casey`s private - well, private, her sealed psychiatric evaluations are now unsealed. She makes shocking claims about George having murdered Caylee, about being date raped and that leading to Caylee`s birth. And she says even though she was scared her dad might be Caylee`s father and then she accuses George of killing her, all kinds of stuff.
Plus, new reports that Casey wants her Attorney Jose Baez gone.
Now, Harry Krop, the psychiatrist - if you remember from the last segment, I said we`d be talking to him on the phone, we had continued technical problems. He`s unable to join us. But I`ve got a ton of questions for him, because he is the last guy in the legal system who is a psychiatrist to evaluate Casey. I`d be anxious to get his opinion on what these reports suggest.
I`m back with Attorney Mark Eiglarsh and Correspondent for "In Session" on TruTV Beth Karas. And joining me in the studio is Criminal Psychologist Michelle Ward. She is the host of "Stalked" on Investigation Discovery.
Beth, real quickly what do we know about Casey firing Jose Baez?
KARAS: Well, the reports are that she doesn`t want him anymore because he`s just bit by the media bug, he`s out there. She seems to be a little suspicious about this videotape that she says it`s been hacked from her computer.
But Baez through a spokesperson has issued a statement that sounds like he`s voluntarily leaving the case - at least - no, that`s another report. His statement is he doesn`t want to make any statements, but there is a second report out there that he`s voluntarily leaving, so I really don`t know what it is.
But it looks like he may be leaving the team along with Dorothy Clay Sims. She`s filed a notice that she intends to withdraw from the case. She was, I believe, handling the appeal. So there`s two members of the defense team who apparently will be leaving.
PINSKY: Getting a little burned out by Casey.
Now, Michelle, you`ve not been here before. You`re the kind of - you have the kind of training I`ve been asking for for quite some time. I got a million questions for you. You`re a neural psychologist.
MICHELLE WARD, CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuroscience, which is housing the (ph) psychology and neuroscience.
PINSKY: OK. Which is - which is the domain that I`ve been saying Casey should have been assessed. Do you agree with me on that?
WARD: Oh, absolutely.
PINSKY: What do you think is going on here?
WARD: Well, you know, I think we have a classic female psychopath.
PINSKY: That`s it, psychopath.
PINSKY: What about the idea that there`s a brain disorder here, that there`s some sort of partial complex seizure, frontal lobe disorder, sort of a classic, you know, Phineas Gage-type syndrome where she just can`t appreciate the consequences of her actions?
WARD: Well, that could be, but in the frontal lobe injury in an issue like that you get a lot of impulsivity.
PINSKY: Which she has.
WARD: And that`s not -
PINSKY: She got pregnant. She was drinking. She was going out.
WARD: That`s right. But she`s not being impulsive now. I mean, she`s kind of callous, unemotional, devoid - devoid of regret. She`s not hopeless. And those are flagship signs of psychopathy.
PINSKY: Why do you think that didn`t show up on the MMPI?
WARD: You know, I`m not sure about that. I was curious about that. I just have a chance to look at what this report said and I was like, you know, because if you just look at how her interview was reading, it is a classic female psychopath and she doesn`t know yet to fake the emotions.
PINSKY: The interviews read, but the MMPI comes out normal.
WARD: It comes back normal. And that`s probably confused.
PINSKY: And even - and there are measures on the MMPI - for people at home, it`s just - it`s a psychological profile, psychiatric profile to assess people`s personality, functioning, mood stability, this kind of thing. And in there there`s even a measure for somebody trying to manipulate the test and she came out fine on that, too.
WARD: And, you know, you see that sometimes with a very well - well- rehearsed psychopath, someone who knows how to fake the tests.
PINSKY: Well, you get (ph) what I`m talking about. So she should kill again then if she`s a psychopath.
WARD: You know, most psychopaths are not murderers. Many murderers aren`t psychopaths.
PINSKY: You mean sociopath? You`re not distinguishing between the two.
WARD: OK. The psychopath - now, there`s some argument about whether they are even different.
PINSKY: Yes. That`s what I figure. You`re sort of in that camp.
WARD: Yes. That`s my camp.
WARD: So my camp is that there`s really not a difference between the psychopath and the sociopath.
WARD: I used those terms interchangeably.
PINSKY: I`ll grant you that. And do you think she`s a trauma survivor even though it didn`t show up on the MMPI?
WARD: Do I personally think so, no.
PINSKY: OK. So the trauma that`s all her B.S. That`s all her psychopathy.
WARD: That`s what a psychopath does.
PINSKY: Right. OK.
Let me just go back to that. So she talked about George saying, quote, "I hate the fact that I don`t hate him for everything that he`s done, everything that happened. I hate the fact that I can still love him. Little girl wishing my dad could be my dad. I can`t figure out why I don`t hate him. Years of anger, frustration, hurt and pain."
And remember, there was never any proof George harmed Casey or Caylee and he completely denied it. Watch this.
CASEY ANTHONY, 2008 JAILHOUSE VIDEOTAPE: You know how much I love you and how much I`ve always loved you. You`ll always be my buddy, even besides my dad.
GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S FATHER: I know that, but I had to say what I needed to say to you. I just need to get that out.
C. ANTHONY: I know. You know how much I love you.
G. ANTHONY: I know. I know you do.
PINSKY: And Mark, now when we listen to those conversations, I feel like there`s a dad getting worked, you know what I mean?
EIGLARSH: Yes. It`s still so sad. It`s not enough that you are responsible in some way, I`ll give her that, for her daughter`s tragic demise, but you take your own flesh and blood, your father, and you throw him under the bus and you keep throwing him under the bus. That was just horrible.
PINSKY: And yet she feels no guilt, remorse. And would it be accurate to say that one of the - one of the features of sociopathy and one of the frustrating parts, they don`t feel guilt.
WARD: That`s exactly right. And they`ll throw anybody under the bus for their own means. I mean, they`re very goal-driven and their relationships are really shallow. They don`t form the bonds like you and I would form with people, I mean, hoping you`re not that (INAUDIBLE). But they don`t - they don`t experience that.
PINSKY: Well, this gang here may drive you to that, but I`m not there yet.
But do you agree with me also that Cindy and George were in denial about this, probably knew this girl was sick since early teens, and Cindy didn`t want to admit it, George didn`t see it. When he did, he was furious.
WARD: Absolutely. I mean that`s their child. And, of course, parents, I mean, psychopathy has a very strong genetic underpinning.
PINSKY: It does, but it`s arguable.
WARD: Well, right. You usually need a - well, you know, sometimes there`s a trigger, but it`s hard - it`s hard to nudge a psychopath.
PINSKY: And, by the way, the psychopathy, the genetics mostly males, isn`t it?
WARD: Well, most psychopaths are males. Very rare -
PINSKY: But I mean most of the data is in males.
WARD: Most of the data, because we just can`t get our hands on enough female psychopaths.
PINSKY: Oh, we`ve got a hand on one here. We can study her, wherever she may be. But she`ll send us more videos, don`t worry.
WARD: I hope so.
PINSKY: Now, since the beginning of the case, everybody`s been wondering who Caylee`s dad is, even George and Cindy don`t know. Listen to this.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: Naturally, the first thing I asked her was who the father was. And she at that time told me that it was Jesse Grant.
BAEZ: Were you asked to conduct a paternity test for Lee Anthony as to Caylee - being a potential father?
G. ANTHONY: There was a name brought up that Casey believed could have been the father, all I remember is the last name was Baker, I believe.
CI. ANTHONY: She gave me a name of Eric Baker.
PINSKY: In these documents, Casey says she was date raped. She talks about having sex while under the influence of two beers and possibly some other drug. Oh, just some random drug. Said she woke up passed out, unclothed, and she got pregnant. She doesn`t know who the father is, although this kind of fits some of her behavior, Mark, doesn`t it? I suppose it`s plausible, but the big - the big sort of thing that`s going on here is it`s not Casey`s fault, never Casey`s fault.
EIGLARSH: Right. And I think that in some way as she`s revealing these answers, in her own mind she`s going to give the answer at that moment that somehow she thinks is going to benefit her.
I can`t make heads or tails out of who the father is, we`ll never know, nor we`ll ever going to know for sure unfortunately I know this bothers our viewers exactly how this happened, how her daughter was killed.
EIGLARSH: Because she wouldn`t ever -
PINSKY: I think you`re right, Mark.
EIGLARSH: -- be honest and tell us.
PINSKY: Well, and even she - no matter what she said how could I find - unless I had a hard proof, how could I possibly understand that it is the truth?
PINSKY: Thank you, Mark. Thank you to Beth. And thank you to Michelle for joining us.
Next, your reaction to what you just heard about Casey Anthony and her mental status.
You can read the unsealed court documents for yourself at HLNTV.com.
And we`re back after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. I appreciate you staying with us.
We`re talking about the two depositions that were unsealed today from psychiatrists who had evaluated Casey Anthony before she went on trial. They detail alleged sexual abuse she said she endured as a child at the hands of her father and brother was mentioned, too, we haven`t talked about that. And a claim that Caylee accidentally drowned or maybe was intentionally murdered by George.
Now, a lot of you are reacting to this story, so let`s begin with a post on Facebook. Ali writes, "How can Casey`s psychiatric evaluations even be considered serious if she never tells the truth?"
And I think you`re echoing something we`ve been talking about the entire - entire show today, which is this is just like the depositions that the police gave and the reports that she gave to the police, but these instruments we have for testing these kinds of folks can usually detect that they`re manipulating the test.
So as you heard in that last conversation, I`m sorry - I was kind of from Michelle Ward, I was kind of getting convinced that maybe there is more psychopathy, sociopathy here than I had been thinking. So I`m coming onboard with a lot of you, guys.
Let`s go to the phone. Denishia of Kentucky, go ahead.
DENISHIA, RUSSELL SPRINGS, KENTUCKY (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Denishia.
DENISHIA: I just have a comment, I don`t think Casey got date raped. I think that`s just an excuse for her not knowing who Caylee`s father is. Casey didn`t like the life she had with little Caylee and felt tied down. I mean what mother in her right mind wouldn`t be upset that her daughter is dead? And it breaks my heart that knowing that little Caylee wouldn`t have justice because of her own mom.
PINSKY: Yes. I think, my dear, that is the thing that is making everybody angry beyond distraction. You know, we`re just completely beside ourselves that the system may have failed here.
Caroline on Facebook writes, "If she`s claiming date rape then why did she tell ex-fiance Jesse Grant that he was the father and what happened to the young man who died in the car accident?"
Oh, just another convenient story to try to deflect the truth, whoever that might be and I`m sure she doesn`t know that - well, maybe she does know the truth where the baby came from, we will never know.
Shanna writes, "Do you think even more evaluations should have been done to truly try to figure out Casey?" Excuse me there.
Yes. You heard me say that over and again that I think there might have been some more targeted testing done to look into those areas where everyone was scratching their head and go, why is she - why is her affect so bright when she`s in jail and why - these stories aren`t making sense. And I think there might have been ways to nail down more thoroughly what is going on with her.
Rose writes, "Her stories make more sense to me now, because she has behaviors congruent with someone who have been sexually abused and her father appears narcissistic and controlling, also congruent with an abuser."
Now, if you remember - I don`t know how many of you have been with me for this long, but when the show first started, I, too, was of the opinion that this may be the sexual abuse story and the way the family was behaving was consistent with that, but no, I`m sorry.
We`ve - over the months, we`ve talked to people. We`ve spent long periods of time in that home and there was no evidence of anything like that that we could detect.
This is something different. This is either a brain disorder or sociopathy.
Finally, Penny writes, "Do you think Casey is being told by her therapist to create a sort of fantasy world to help her move her life along?"
No, absolutely not. I think her therapist, if anything, is saying Casey, join the rest of us in reality. This is not OK to have this fantasy life where truth and fantasy and lies have the same valence.
Next, their 8-year-old son died of an undiagnosed cancer and now they face prison time. Sounds a little outrageous, but there is much more to the story than meets the eye, and frankly I (INAUDIBLE) for this one.
For more on the stories we`re talking about tonight, head on over to HLNTV.com and you can open those unsealed files for yourself and read those depositions.
Back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Imagine your eight-year-old child suddenly dies from an undiagnosed illness. Heartbreaking, right? But now, imagine, you are held criminally responsible. That is precisely what happened to an Ohio couple now facing prison time for their son`s death.
They say they had no money, no insurance, and no clue their little boy had cancer. At first glance, it seems outrageous. How is it even possible for these heartbroken parents to be charged? Well, there`s way more to the story than meets the eye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I know is I made my nephew a promise that I would tell the truth about what happened to him and how he suffered.
PINSKY: I`m getting the inside story from the boy`s family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): It was March of 2008 when eight-year-old Willy Robinson collapsed in his home. He was suffering from a treatable, frankly, curable form of Hodgkin`s disease, Hodgkin`s lymphoma, but it had not been diagnosed because he had not seen a doctor. Monica Hussing and William Robinson pleaded guilty, Monday, to attempted involuntary manslaughter in the death of their little boy. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mother and father in Ohio plead guilty in their son`s cancer death. So, it was William Robinson Jr. He was eight years of age when he dies of a Hodgkin`s lymphoma. It`s very treatable form of cancer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors are saying this is about medical neglect. They`re saying that this little boy begged his parents to take him to the hospital, and they refused to do so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people did not have that ability to get the proper healthcare.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say, they felt this lump on his neck. They say they thought it was just swollen glands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fireworks in court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DON`T touch me again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sort of a tale of two stories. What really happened that led to the death of this little precious eight-year-old boy?
PINSKY: Joining me to try to shed some light on this tragedy is John Luskin, attorney for Monica Hussing, Tom Rein, attorney for William Robinson, Sr., and Lillian Hussing, Willie`s sister. She`s now lost her eight-year-old brother and watched her parents have to confess in court.
Lillian, thank you -- all of you thank you for joining me. But Lillian, I want to speak to you first. How are you hanging in? I mean, your whole family is gone. What is your take on what`s happening here?
LILLIAN HUSSING, BROTHER DIED OF CANCER, WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD: I think it`s a horrible thing what happened to my brother, and, I think if we would have got the help that we needed, that he would still be here today.
PINSKY: What prevented your parents from getting him that help?
HUSSING: I`m really not sure.
PINSKY: Gentlemen --
JOHN LUSKIN, ATTORNEY FOR MONICA HUSSING: There was a lack of medical -- lack of medical attention because they were living in Trumbull County, which is a far eastern suburb -- or far eastern county in Ohio. They were not able to get the healthcare coverage from the welfare department that they sought.
TOM REIN, ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM ROBINSON, SR.: What`s also interesting about this case, Dr. Drew, is that nobody knew, nobody had a clue as to the cause of death until Willie passed away. It`s a horrible, tragic case. They did not even know he had Hodgkin`s disease, lymphoma cancer, until they did the autopsy, until the coroner determined that was the cause of death.
Now, again, Trumbull County social workers were already coming to this house for other things, even on a weekly basis. The social worker was made aware of a lot of different things, including the fact that Willie on and off had a lump on his neck. The social worker, according to my understanding, thought it was not a big deal, didn`t do anything about it.
In fact, January of 2008, couple months before Willie so tragically passed away, the lump was gone. The lump was gone. So, they didn`t know, they didn`t realize the extent of this young boy`s injuries. This social worker was in contact with them on a regular basis. He described Willie, the social worker did, as healthy and happy.
So, nobody knew the extent of his illness. Had they known, they would have taken him to the hospital.
PINSKY: Lillian, did you ever ask -- Lillian, did you or your brother ever ask for treatment or did you ever ask them to take your brother to the hospital?
HUSSING: No. Me or my brother never asked for him to go to the hospital. We didn`t know he was sick. He didn`t show any signs of suffering or being in pain at all.
PINSKY: Did he complain about the lumps?
HUSSING: No, he didn`t. We would ask him if it hurt, and he would tell us no.
REIN: Dr. Drew, another thing, too, with all of this, had he been so sick and so ill, my understanding is these parents immediately would have taken him to the emergency room, would have gotten immediate care and treatment.
However, in our system, doesn`t necessarily -- if you don`t necessarily -- if you don`t have health insurance, if you`re low income and you don`t qualify and you don`t have the benefit, the privilege of health insurance like most of us do or many of us do, I should say, then doctors would automatically want money charged before they even see any children.
These parents try to take this kid to the doctor. They were told, no, no, no, not until you pay cash up front for each child. So, they had to wait. They were in touch with the social workers, with the welfare department. They had nine mouths to feed in this household and they couldn`t afford it.
Now, had they had been -- had there been health insurance for them where they could get regular visits where doctors could treat them and do physicals and observe them, this tragedy could have been averted. Now, the White House was involved early on in this case. They called myself and Mr. Luskin. They were interested in this, because, in this day and age, there`s no reason that any child should not be given the level of minimum healthcare.
We`re the richest nation on the planet. History judges societies by the way we treat our poor, our elderly, our disabled, and our children. Are you telling me that we can`t provide the benefit, bare minimum of health treatment for any child at all? That`s --
PINSKY: I`m sorry. I`m sorry to interrupt, but you`re speaking a myth, frankly, because people are not turned away from emergency rooms. Children get healthcare. Most people -- you know how frequently, though, the uninsured are in this country, a lot of them are sick, and they get care. There is a catchment system, but you`re right.
It`s cumbersome. It`s difficult, but it captures people when they are sick and when they seek attention. You have to specifically not seek attention in order for the system not to serve you. It`s cumbersome, I get that. Had he gone to the emergency room as you said, he would not have been turned away. He didn`t go to the emergency room.
My concern is, and this is a concern for everybody out there. If your kid has these growing things anywhere on his body, get him to the healthcare system whether you have insurance or not. There`s county healthcare. There are emergency rooms. People will not turn you away.
If you call and say I want to make an appointment at a private doctor`s office just because, yes, you may get turned away. If you show up somewhere and say I`m sick, you will get care. People do not get turned away when they say they are sick. This is a cautionary tale for everyone out there.
HUSSING: The thing is he never showed any signs of sickness.
PINSKY: If you have a kid and he`s growing things in his neck, please, everybody, immediately take that child to healthcare.
HUSSING: It was not growing. It stayed the same size.
PINSKY: I thought you said it came and went. We`re changing our story now. It went away and then it came back. That`s a problem.
REIN: The social worker --
PINSKY: Social worker is not a doctor, I`m sorry. The social worker failed you, I agree. The social worker is not a doctor. Why was a social worker there?
HUSSING: Then, he should have helped us a little bit more.
PINSKY: I agree with you. Why was the social worker there?
REIN: Dr. Drew, the ball was dropped on this. The ball was dropped. He was there on a weekly basis. The kid appeared healthy and happy. They asked him if there was a problem. He felt good. He felt fine. He was running around. There are pictures of him happy, smiling. He`s on the swing side with the other kids.
He`s interacting with the other kids. He`s eating. He`s watching TV. He`s doing what every kid does. He`s got a lump, and it was not so great at that time for them to go to the emergency room. Had they gone to the emergency room, it would have been a different story, but he`s healthy and happy. And you listen to your kid. He`s an eight-year-old bright, happy, jolly kid. There`s not --
PINSKY: I`m here to tell you, I`m here to tell everybody, if you have an eight-year-old kid and a lump shows up under his arm, in his neck, behind his neck, you take him to the hospital right now. You will get care. That is a sign of either a severe infection including things like TB and bacterial infections, which these days are serious because we overuse antibiotics, another problem, or a cancer or a tumor like lymphoma.
HUSSING: I have a comment.
PINSKY: Go ahead. Yes.
HUSSING: My sister had the same lump on her neck. We took her to the doctors, and they said that it was one of her lymph nodes pushed out because she had an infection in her tooth and it drained into her neck. So, therefore, it doesn`t necessarily mean that it`s cancer.
PINSKY: Absolutely not.
PINSKY: Why didn`t they take --
PINSKY: It wasn`t my responsibility at the time and my mom tried.
PINSKY: No, Lillian, I know. No, no, Lillian. I`m sorry. You`re the one that I feel bad for here. You lost your brother, your family is -- please, don`t think I`m -- I just wonder why one child who had a lymph node appropriately taken to medical care and got care and got the infection treated, the next one -- it`s a tragedy. It`s a horrible tragedy. I just don`t want this to happen in anybody else.
And by the way, let me say, although we`re having a spirited discussion here, I feel horrible for Lillian`s parents. They not only lost a child, they`ve been attacked and maybe losing their freedom. I mean, I can`t imagine a bigger nightmare than what`s going on for their parents.
I mean, it`s not as though Lillian`s parents didn`t love this kid. You know, this is a horrible, horrible, horrible horrible tragedy. What`s that?
REIN: William Robertson, he was working six days a week, ten hours a day. He had nine mouths to feed in his household. He was doing the best he can with an 11th grade education, working, striving, trying to bring home enough money so that his kids could eat. If -- if we had national minimum healthcare insurance for children, for children, they could have seen and gotten regular primary care. Instead, they were turned away by doctors who wanted money up front first.
No, we need this much money up front first, and then, we`ll talk about treat as you go. Treat as you go? Wait a minute, this kid -- this kid died as a result of this. The richest nation on the planet and we`re letting a kid die? It`s a loss to all of us. It`s tragedy to everybody here. It`s horrible.
PINSKY: OK, guys. I got to take a break.
REIN: Maybe we can straighten this out.
PINSKY: It is a disaster. That`s why I`ve got such high feelings about this. Lillian, thank you. And please, please don`t walk away with bad feelings. My heart goes out to you and to your parents, for that matter. I mean, they are the ones being accused of horrible things, but they are the ones that are suffering probably more than anybody here. Tom, thank you as all
Next, is eight years in prison too much for a crime that parents -- are we going to call it committed a crime? And can you -- this is the conversation we`re having. Can you tell this a tonsillitis or tooth infection from a serious malignancy? We`ll talk about it after the break.
PINSKY: Well, welcome back. I -- that last conversation has me like terribly upset. I feel awful for Lillian who has to sit and listen to us arguing about a system that has flawed and broken. My intention in this conversation was more to talk about warning for people that out there that are not taking their kids to healthcare and need to if there`s any question at all.
There are systems -- that`s what we`re going to talk about in this segment that will capture you, that will find a way. Don`t be afraid of the system. Be afraid of what happens when you don`t go to the system. Don`t go for no reason, but if your child has something growing somewhere, I don`t care where, get it checked out.
And as you hear, these parents did do that, in fact, with a child that had the tooth infection, turned out just to be that. You`re not in the position to make that assessment. You got to take to somebody who`s got training. Social worker let them down, system let that family down. A child is dead and a family is suffering in a way that, I think, many of us can`t even imagine how awful it is.
But that conversation was felt bad, and I just have to say that. You know, talking -- I think we`re all put in the position of having this conversation because our system is flawed. It does have big, big, big problems with it. I`m not saying it doesn`t, it does, but don`t let that scare you off from stepping up and getting the care you need.
And my biggest concern is that sort of magical thinking and primitive thinking keep people from getting healthcare rather than our system, which is bad enough, but it`s also us that we`ve got to -- as parents have got to step up.
So, in Ohio, the laws are pretty clear that you lose your child if you, here we go, neglect or refuse to provide proper assistance, medical or surgical care for the child`s health, moral, or well being. The nature (ph) of boy`s parents did not get the care for the kid, whether because of fear the system or inability. I don`t know what it was. I don`t want to argue about that.
He died from a -- not just treatable, but curable form of lymphoma, Hodgkin`s disease. Willie had swollen glands for months. Today, his mom and dad pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter and could get years in prison for the crime. I`ll just say, if I were those parents, I wouldn`t care.
My child died. I would feel responsible for that, put me in jail, fine, if that`s what you got to do. I couldn`t go lower no matter what you did to me than that, although poor Lillian, who`s the daughter we spoke to, has her parents taken away from her in addition to her brother.
Joining me to talk about this is Dr. Lolly McDavid, medical director in child advocacy and protection at Rainbow Babies and Children`s Hospital in Cleveland and Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney. Dr. McDavid, what went wrong here? Help me understand why these parents didn`t get help for this child.
VOICE DR. LOLLY MCDAVID, UH RAINBOW BAIES & CHILDREN HOSPITAL, CLEVELAND, OH: OK. Well, let me first say that in Ohio, we cover children to 200 percent of the poverty level. So, if you`ve got a family of nine and a father who is making low wages, that child qualified for healthcare in Ohio. So --
PINSKY: So, let me interrupt you. So, this idea that the healthcare system failed him is not true. It`s untrue, is that correct?
MCDAVID: It`s untrue, it`s untrue. And not only that, we have six children`s hospitals in Ohio. We have a wealth of medical information and access. Dr. Drew, you can call me Dr. Lolly, I`ll call you Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough. Fair enough.
MCDAVID: Dr. Drew, we care for in our hospital, and we`re in Cleveland, but he was near a hospital either us or there`s a children`s hospital in Akron. We care for children who are Amish, they don`t have insurance. We care for children who are the children of immigrants, we don`t ask them if their parents are here legal or illegally or how they got here.
If a child is sick, we care for them. So, you`re right. There are ways to access the system and it wasn`t accessed. The other thing I want to say, because I`m a pediatrician. This is -- childhood cancer is one of the great success stories of modern medicine. When I was training, 80 percent of new -- newly-diagnosed cases of cancer with children died.
Now, over 80 percent live, and with what this child had, he had a better than 93 percent chance with good treatment of surviving and living. And then, let`s go back to the timeline, because this was actually seen three years before this child died. This is a not-aggressive tumor.
It invades, though, it invades all the viscera. So, he would have been uncomfortable. It would eventually be in his lungs, in his liver, throughout his body.
PINSKY: And Dr. Lolly, I`m going to interrupt you a little bit. He clearly had, you know, a cancer syndrome. What is wrong with parents that they -- is it lack of understanding? Is it fear? Is it denial?
I mean or is it magical thinking that they know best and the medical system does -- you know, South Park did a whole episode on this where, I think, Kenny died of kidney failure. They were going to all kinds of healers other than doctors, then when the kid got really sick, they went, oh no, we don`t know how to handle this. What`s going on that parents don`t trust the healthcare system?
MCDAVID: Well, I just came from a meeting where we were talking about overuse of the emergency room. So, you can`t tell me that there are parents who do not bring their children in. In fact, we`re trying very hard to educate parents on the right times to bring kids in. But this child would have been sick, and this went on over three years.
This was not something where he got sick, and six weeks later, he was dead. They first saw the lymph node on his neck three years before he died, and the autopsy reports this child was cathectic, and supposedly at the end, could barely get up and down the stairs, could not go up and down the stairs. So, this child was not well.
PINSKY: OK. So, we have carcinomatosis, which is the cancer has taken over his whole body. He`s losing weight. He can`t get around. OK. So, Dr. Lolly, thank you. I`m going to have you stay with me. I`m going to have our attorneys respond after the break. John, I believe is still with me, and of course, Mark Eiglarsh, who we saw just a moment ago, will stay with me across the break.
So, is this some sort of a -- as I asked, denial or do people understand how to take care of the medical needs of their child or is this a system failure? We`re going to give John Luskin a chance to address that particular question and hear from Mark after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us. We`re talking about an eight-year-old boy with a treatable form of cancer who died. John Luskin, lawyer for the child`s mother, Monica Hussing, is here. He said his client didn`t have the capabilities, his quote, "didn`t have capabilities to recognize cancer."
Mark Eiglarsh -- first of all, let me go to -- with me as well, of course, Dr. Lolly is here as well, but let me go back to John. John, you heard what Dr. Lolly was saying. Do you have any comment to that?
LUSKIN: Yes, I agree with the doctor in essence what she said, but the other part of it is that when she mentioned (INAUDIBLE) one of the finest hospitals in Northeast Ohio and Akron General Hospital, these people are from Warren, Ohio. It`s a little bit further to the east on the Pennsylvania border, and unfortunately, they did not have the tools.
Monica, I`ve lived with this case for about three years. She`s agonized over this, and she just did not have the capabilities of understanding. She would give him over the counter medicines. He would get better. He would seem to get better and things of that nature. It was just a lack of her understanding all the severity of what happened to young Will.
I think this is a classic example of how parents can be educated. I think the show that you`re presenting here this evening can educate parents nationwide to bring them more to the hospital and to make it more accessible. This is ultimately why Monica accepted the responsibility for her actions. She wants to move on.
She wants to be reunited with her other children, Lillian, who is now emancipated and has come home. Mary, her other daughter, the aunt has placed her in a juvenile detention facility in another county because she`s been unruly, wants to see her mother, but ultimately, Monica and William want to work towards family reunification. And I think this is -- hopefully this is what we`re working for at this juncture.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough. Fair enough, John. Thank you. And then, Mark, you and I have talked about our kids, we`re parents. Do you have any thoughts on this case?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A lot of thoughts. This is tragic, and I feel for everybody concerned. You know, on one side, the prosecutors are alleging that while the parents are claiming financial hardship, at the same time, they were able to come up with $87 to treat a pit bull for fleas. That`s one issue that I know would have come out at trial, whether it`s true or not, that`s an issue.
The other side is, you know, the arguments made by the attorney that we heard earlier, those are arguments, I think, that would resonate in front of the judge when it comes time for sentencing. The reasons why prison is not necessarily appropriate, and I disagree with you, Drew. If I lost one of my children, even if it was my fault to some extent, I`ve got other kids and I don`t want to go away.
They need me in their life. And so, I would hope that the judge keeps that in mind. That they did love their child. They might have made gross errors here in judgment. I mean, in retrospect, I`m sure they would have done things differently, but they`ve got to continue as a family unit and move on.
PINSKY: I agree with you, Mark, and I think my point was I`d already be so low and so beaten down I wouldn`t be able to defend myself. Dr. Lolly, I`ve got just a few seconds left, any final comments?
MCDAVID: Well, I disagree that the child was too far away from care. Where he was, he was able to get to care, and health insurance is available for children, low-income children, in Ohio, and it`s -- this is just a very, very, very sad case. What makes me so sad is that this child was sick for three years with something that was curable.
PINSKY: Thank you, Lolly. Thank you, Mark Eiglarsh. Thank you John Luskin. Vinny Politan is continuing the conversation on "Prime News" tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern time. And yes, everybody gets care if you speak up, you`ll get it. I promise.
Thanks for joining us. I`ll see you next time.