Six year old “Michael’s” case is as complicated as they come.
After years of intense treatment for a mitochondrial disease, Michael came into CPS custody unable to walk and needing tubes to eat and to go to the bathroom. His medical records were thick with test results, specialists’ reports and stacks and stacks of notes.
The case got even more complex when doctors began to suspect Michael may be a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition in which a parent deliberately makes his or her child sick or convinces others the child is sick when he or she really isn’t.
Michael needed a court appointed advocate with unequaled diligence, unlimited patience and uncompromising integrity.
He got that and more with Duane King.
A natural “investigator,” Duane has an incredible propensity for facts and information. What sets him apart, however, is his ability to not only see all of the pieces and how they fit together, but to organize them in a way that others can see it just as easily.
He examined Michael’s medical records with a fine-tooth comb to prepare a timeline for the presiding judge. Printed on 5-foot-tall butcher paper, it stretched more than 30 feet when unfurled.
Duane’s thoroughness, diligence and integrity persuaded the judge to terminate Michael’s parents’ rights.
Michael has made great strides since coming into CPS custody. He no longer has the feeding tubes or ileostomy bag he used to need to eliminate waste. He is also free of all medications and his mitochondrial disease diagnosis has been disproven.
Best of all, he is living on a ranch with a family that is in the process of adopting him.
** Duane, an attorney who works full-time for Shell, has been a court appointed advocate volunteer since 2002. He has spent more than 500 hours advocating for Michael over the past two years.