Divorced ER Doctor Temporarily Loses Custody of Daughter Amid Coronavirus Fears, Says 'It's Discriminatory'

A divorced emergency room doctor in Miami said Monday she has temporarily lost custody of her 4-year-old daughter, calling the ruling "discriminatory."

"We have good evidence that has really made me feel better in what I am doing, in sticking by that shows that children are minimally affected by the disease and that health care workers who use proper precautions are not at an increased risk than the general population of contracting the virus," Theresa Greene said on CNN's New Day.

"So I think it is discriminatory for a judge to tell me that I can't come home to my child," she added.

The doctor is appealing the decision, which she said discriminates against her as a divorced parent. "If I was married, I'd be given the opportunity to go home to my child."

Greene and her ex-husband, Eric Greene, had joint custody of their daughter, who will now be in his sole custody for the time being. Florida Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro made the ruling "to limit the risk of exposure to coronavirus," according to CNN.

"The Court does not enter this order lightly, but given the pandemic in Florida and the recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Court finds in order to insulate and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this order must be entered on a temporary basis," Shapiro stated in his ruling.

Speaking of the decision, Greene told CNN: "I think it's not fair. It's cruel to ask me to choose between my child and the oath I took as a physician. I won't abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it's torture."

Greene also said that she wears protective personal equipment "above and beyond" what is necessary when dealing with coronavirus patients and that she showers as soon as she gets home to protect her daughter.

Greene's attorney, Steven Nullman, said in a statement that he believes "the decision sets out a very dangerous precedent that could have a major impact on health care providers around the country who are risking their own lives while fighting to save others," according to The Hill.

Eric Greene's attorney, Paul Leinoff, said in a statement that he and his client "have the upmost respect for Dr. Greene's commitment to her critical work during this pandemic," according to CNN.

"The Greenes' temporary time-sharing dispute was presented before the court based upon the specific facts of this individual family, and a decision was reached based upon the best interests and safety of a minor child, limited to the temporary circumstances presented by COVID-19," Leinoff said.

"We will continue to pursue ways to resolve this delicate situation and believe that a result can be achieved safely and fairly," the attorney added.

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In Miami, health care staff from Community Health of South Florida prepare to test people for the coronavirus in a parking lot on March 18. Joe Raedle/Getty