Daniel Vazquez, a Gainesville-based personal injury attorney, has taken up Heather Hironimus' case pro bono because, as he tells New Times, hers and her 4-year-old son Chase's case has precedent-setting issues including medical-legal ethics.
Vazquez says he decided to become involved in the case, and not charge Hironimus, because he believes that since this case is dealing with a nonreligious, nonmedical procedure, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital would potentially be liable for medical negligence, malpractice, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
"This case involves a nonreligious, nonmedically necessary, purely cosmetic surgery of a nearly 5-year-old boy who, along with his mother, doesn't want the surgery to be done," he tells New Times.
On Thursday, Vazquez sent Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital a cease-and-desist order on Hironimus' behalf, demanding that the hospital not perform the supposed scheduled circumcision on the boy.
Joe DiMaggio's said Chase was not a patient there in a statement released Wednesday. But a source who claims to work at Joe DiMaggio's told New Times that the hospital was lying.
On Monday, Hironimus' attorney, Thomas Hunker, filed an emergency injunction in Palm Beach County Circuit Court to stop the procedure. However, the motion was denied by Circuit Judge Jessica Tickin, who replaced Judge Jeffrey Gillen in the case. It was Gillen who originally sided with the boy's father, Dennis Nebus, and ordered Hironimus to either sign a consent form to allow Chase's circumcision or face indefinite jail time. Hironimus had been in jail after she violated court orders to stand before the judge with her son.
There's been no word on whether the procedure has been performed, and Vazquez declined to comment on the boy's status. Joe DiMaggio's, meanwhile, says it cannot comment on any of its patients due to privacy laws.
However, Vazquez did say he has not yet heard from the hospital regarding the order.
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Vazquez insists that since the procedure is purely cosmetic, that they have a case.
"I think If you were to ask people, for example, whether a mother could force her 15-year-old daughter to get breast implants when the daughter and the father don't want the surgery to be done, virtually everyone would agree that the surgery should not happen," he says. "That's analogous to the unique facts of this case."
Vazquez pointed out that Chase has already said he does not wish to undergo the procedure. "He's of an age where he’s aware of what’s going to happen," Vazquez says.
Meanwhile, John Trainer, a Jacksonville-based doctor who has been following the Hironimus case, has threatened to file a complaint to the state Department of Health against Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital if Chase is circumcised there.