Mother of Haleigh Poutre Not Allowed to Visit Her Daughter

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mother of Haleigh Poutre Not Allowed to Visit Her Daughter Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 24
, 2006

Boston, MA ( — The mother of Haleigh Poutre, the victim of child abuse and was nearly killed via euthanasia when Massachusetts officials gave up on her after she entered a coma, will not be allowed to visit her daughter. A local judge denied an emergency injunction her attorneys filed on her behalf.

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman denied two of the three injunctions filed for Allison Avrett, Haleigh’s birth mother whose original abuse of her daughter led to her placement in a foster home.

There, she was abused further and that mistreatment led to her current medical problems.

The injunctions sought to allow Avrett to visit Poutre and to obtain her current medical information.

Avrett had been visiting Poutre twice a month but her visits were cut off in July without explanation and have not been restored since then.

"We are obviously disappointed but we are not discouraged," Avrett’s lawyer, Elizabeth Clague, told The Republican of Springfield. "We absolutely have options and we will purse those in terms of getting Allison in to see Haleigh."

Judge Tuttman did not act on a third injunction request asking for documents relating to Poutre’s foster adoption.

The requests are part of a $12.5 million lawsuit she has filed against the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the agency’s commissioner and three employees over their efforts to kill Haleigh.

The girl was in state custody following the latest abuse by her foster parents and Poutre, once termed "brain dead" by doctors, continues to improve and is speaking a few words, her grandmother says.

Last month, Sandra Sudyka, the girl’s biological grandmother who is also no longer allowed to visit her, said she last saw Poutre on July 18 but indicated she was "doing well."

"She was bright-eyed and smiling. She is always responsive to us," Sudyka explained.

Department of Social Services had asked Sudyka not to talk with reporters about Haleigh, but since they will no longer allow her and Avrett to visit the 12 year-old, she said she’s going to talk to the media.

"I decided since they broke the deal, I am going to talk. People should know how well she is doing," Sudyka told the newspaper.

"They don’t want people to know how she is doing after they wanted to pull the plug," Sudyka said.

DSS spokeswoman Denise Monteiro declined an interview with The Republican but said that the visiting privileges have been suspended, not terminated.

Haleigh first began speaking in June, her grandmother told the newspaper.

"I was saying to her ‘I love you,’ and she was trying to say ‘love’ and it came out as a vibration…’ove,’" Sudyka said.

Sudyka, who is working with an attorney to adopt the girl, said she has said hello, responds to comments and questions, speaks nonverbally and is able to write her name. Haleigh can’t walk and is confined to a wheelchair.

DSS took Poutre into custody and when she appeared to slip into a coma, the agency asked the state Supreme Court for permission to take her life. That’s when Poutre began responding.

Poutre has been receiving physical, speech and occupational therapy since January 26 at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton.

Gov. Mitt Romney appointed a commission to look into how the state failed to properly handle the girl’s case.