Lorina and Jason Troy had a good life. They had a four-year-old son and Lorina had just given birth to their second. They lived in a nice house in Texas. Jason had a good, top-secret, job with the government. They thought all was well; however, that was soon to change.
Their newborn, JJ had been born with a larger than normal head and not long after the Lorina and Jason had brought him home from the hospital, he began vomiting excessively. Lorina took him to their pediatrician who diagnosed JJ with a stomach bug and sent them home with Pedialyte. Unfortunately, JJ didn’t get better. Lorina took him to urgent care and eventually a children’s hospital. Everyone focused on the vomiting but not JJ’s enlarged head, that was continuously getting bigger. Eventually Lorina convinced a doctor to do an MRI. This is when everything fell apart.
The MRI revealed that JJ had fluid built up in his cranium. This can be caused by a variety of medical issues, but the doctors immediately jumped to the most drastic possibility. They assumed JJ was being physically abused. Lorina asked for a second opinion but the doctors denied it. So, in May 2015, Lorina and Jason had their children removed from their home and placed in foster care.
As parents, they knew they had never hurt JJ or his older brother, but it was their word against the physicians. Lorina was only allowed to see her children twice a week, for only two hours per visit. Jason was charged with felony abuse, which caused him to lose his security clearance and thus his job. In order to pay for attorney fees, they had to sell their house. Even after doing so, they lost about $80,000 in legal fees, medical costs, and lost wages. The loss of their children, the trial, the costs, losing their home – it was a very traumatic time for the Lorina, Jason, and their children.
Two and a half years after this all began, Jason was exonerated when a doctor from Maryland finally managed to properly diagnose JJ with Benign External Hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the hollow places inside the brain. These hollow places are called ventricles. Cerebrospinal fluid is saltwater that’s made inside the ventricles. In normal conditions, it flows around the brain and spinal cord, cushioning them. It also sends nutrients to the brain and takes away waste. Then it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, and new, fresh CSF takes its place. However, a buildup of CSF can put pressure on the brain causing many symptoms including a rapid increase in head circumference, fussiness, tiredness, poor appetite, vomiting, eyes that stay looking down, seizures, and slowed development.
Hydrocephalus can be present at birth and is the result of genetic abnormalities, problems with fetal development, or complications at birth. Hydrocephalus is a relatively common neuropediatric condition, affecting about 1 in every 500 babies in the U.S. Unfortunately, a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the head can also be a symptom of a traumatic brain injury, most often caused in babies by severe blows to the head. This can be interpreted as physical abuse if other symptoms are not considered, as in the Troy family’s case.
The family is now trying to heal from the trauma of separation, legal battles, and financial loss. Lorina has become an advocate for families like hers that have experienced devastating results from a child’s misdiagnosis. She lobbies lawmakers in Texas, California, and Washington D.C. to change laws on getting second medical opinions and the role of CPS in instances like these. It’s very important to Lorina to make physicians, hospitals, judges, law enforcement and CPS aware that children can easily and quickly be misdiagnosed with child abuse when the child can have a medical condition. She believes a nationwide law needs to be passed that would give a parent the right to get a second opinion on their child’s health from a medical expert, especially when there is no evidence of child abuse
Lorina also talks to the press to raise awareness of Hydrocephalus and stories of misdiagnosis like hers and many other families across the country. Lorina says, “Our strength came from our faith, our prayer, and the love and support of family and friends. But we went through the most challenging events of our lives, and it has strengthened us.” She has now written a book, titled “Miracles of Faith,” that goes into the details of her family’s journey through the medical and legal systems and how their faith saw them through it all. It is available directly through the publishing company, Westbow Press, A Division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.