Childbirth Dispute Involving What Treatments Parents Are Allowed to Refuse for Own Children

This week the Modesto Bee touched on a very unique issue involving a family’s fight with their hospital involving the birth of their son and the treatment that parents are able to refuse on behalf of their children. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that these are very delicate legal issues which attempt the balance the rights of parents to make decisions for their children, while protecting the children’s health and well-being. Making this even more unique is that the hospital’s chief of staff was the father of the child being born-and he delivered the boy himself.

The boy was born earlier this month with the mother wanting to have an entirely natural birth. The mother was so committed to a natural birth that she even refused an ibuprofen after being in labor for nine hours.

According to the story the family and medical team were at odds throughout the birth. On one hand the medical team apparently criticized the woman’s decision to have a vaginal birth after previously having a C-section. On top of that, there were misunderstandings about when to wash the child, whether or not blood should be drawn, and how vitamin K should be administered.

Apparently the dispute escalated when the family left the hospital with the child only 12 hours after he was born. Other doctors had advised the family to keep the child in the hospital longer, but the family apparently ignored that medical advice and left the hospital anyway. This move alarmed some hospital staff members. As a result they claimed to Child Protective Services that the child may be in danger. Of course, this move angered the family. It prompted them to file a complaint against the facility with the Joint Commission-an organization that certifies and accredits hospitals and medical centers.

The main issue was whether the hospital acted appropriately in contacting child health authorities because the family left the hospital with the child against doctor recommendations. The hospital officials in this case explained that the family had the right to leave but that the hospital also had the right to contact authorities to let them know that the new addition’s health might have been compromised by the action.

The doctor highlighted an important issue that our Illinois birth injury lawyers know is a factor in all disputes with hospitals. He noted that “If this could happen to me, a doctor with privileges at the hospital, how is an 18-year old who may not know her rights treated?”

Unique issues related to the rights of parents like this are quite rare. However, the basic issues of medical providers taking actions that patients might not understand is a common occurrence that plays a role in many Chicago medical malpractice cases. At the end of the day, many patients may never find out that they have been hurt by unreasonable care, because they are never made fully aware of their rights. That is why all those who even suspect mistreatment should visit with a legal professional or in other ways learn more about their exact situation to determine if medical malpractice was actually involved in their situation.

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