HUNTINGBURG, Ind. (WDRB) – A pair of southern Indiana parents said their daughter was medically kidnapped when the hospital originally treating her tried forcing them to use a certain medication to treat her epilepsy.

In May, 21-month-old Jaelah Jerger was diagnosed with epilepsy, having 80 to 100 seizures a day. That’s when she started seeing doctors at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. The prescribed medication to treat her seizures was Keppra.

“When they made the recommendation after the electroencephalogram, the side effects ... they just kept going on and on, and she was 16 months old at the time,” said Jaelah’s mom, Lelah Jerger.

And her parents said she didn’t react well to the medicine

“She was irritable, crying, loss of balance, loss of appetite," they said. "She lost three pounds in a week."

Despite those side effects, Jade and Lelah Jerger said the medical staff at Riley didn't listen to them.

“We were told that the medication could not possibly be affecting her in that manner that soon," Lelah Jerger said. "That's what we were told by the medical professionals we’re supposed to trust."

Jaelah was only on Keppra for nine days. Her parents said she had even more seizures while on the medicine but added they may have been triggered by stress. The Jergers said at the time, the Indiana Department of Child Services was getting orders from Riley to have her blood tested to see if she was being given the medication.

They call it medical kidnapping.

“We had to give her the medicine -- Keppra -- and have it in her system, otherwise they were going to take her from us,” Jade Jerger said.

“Riley has had an issue with the way we were treating our daughter,” Lelah Jerger said.

After hours of online research, Jaelah's parents found hemp extract oil.

“I was not for it to begin with, I will tell you that," Lelah Jerger said. "I had the stigma that it was marijuana."

Now they're being guided on how to use it by their neurologist at the University of Louisville, allowing Jaelah to be a happy little girl again and even have seizure-free days.

“He is a team with us," Lelah Jerger said of their neurologist. "He's willing to work with us and what's in the best interest of Jaelah. “She's happy. She's carefree. She's crazy. She's wild.”

Jaelah sees her physician with U of L every several weeks. An official with Riley Children’s Hospital said they could not comment even when asked about standard protocol for working with the department of child services.

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