Imagine this… your child falls ill and has to spend time in the hospital. Doctors say the ailment is a bit of a strange one and will require certain special treatments. They recommend a medication they think will work, although it had significant side effects, some of which may alter your child’s health forever.
“But this is an acceptable risk”, they say. You refuse the medications, and the hospital can’t believe it. They report you to Child Protective Services and now, the Police have come knocking. They want to take your child away to compulsorily administer the “life-saving” medication, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.
While this may sound like a blockbuster Netflix Original set to be released this fall, it is a situation that is all too real for many parents.
While parents have a right to decide what medical treatments their children receive, state agencies can often unfairly take that decision away from them citing a “Compelling State Interest”. Often, parents find themselves in the unfamiliar situation where they are forced to accept certain medical treatments for their child, even when they know these treatments are harmful.
If you have experienced this situation, you and your child may have been a victim of medical kidnapping. Having your right to care for your child violated is devastating. Yet, this pales in comparison to knowing that the alternative medical treatment you are being forced to accept much worse.
Metro Detroit area family law attorney, Allison Folmar, has been at the forefront of the fight against medical kidnapping in Michigan and nationally. She keenly understands the constitutional rights of parents and has helped countless families fight against the injustice of medical kidnapping. If you are experiencing any interference with your parental rights, Attorney Folmar can help.
What is Medical Kidnapping?
Medical kidnapping is what occurs when a child is forcibly separated from her parents because the parent refused dangerous or risky medical treatments for the child. It is a result of overzealous enforcement of the child protection laws in states all over the U.S. including Michigan.
Ordinarily, parents have constitutionally recognized rights to protect their children, care for them, and make legal decisions on their behalf. However, there are exceptions to these rights under child protection laws. For instance, the right of a parent to care for their child can be ignored where the parent has unreasonably exposed that child to abuse or neglect.
In the case of medical kidnapping, a parent’s refusal to accept certain medical treatments that doctors and/or social workers believe will help the child may be regarded as unnecessarily endangering the life of the child. As a result, in order to correct what they believe is a dangerous situation for the child, health providers or caregivers may get regulatory agencies or the police involved.
Agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) are usually charged with enforcing these laws and are expected to intervene where a situation of child abuse or neglect exists. Sadly, these laws, which are meant to protect children and families, often end up being incorrectly or unfairly enforced under the guise of Medical Neglect. This encourages several infringements on parental rights, including the phenomenon called Medical Kidnapping.
How Does Medical Kidnapping Occur?
Most medical kidnapping scenarios begin in the same fashion. A child is taken to the hospital due to an ailment, injury, or psychological issue where the parent is proactively seeking medical help.
Sometimes, these ailments will need to be managed with new or sensitive medication, such as antipsychotic medications. Hospital officials are obligated to inform parents of the risks and rewards of such medication, in order to help them make an informed decision.
But that decision can be taken out of a parent’s hands, especially when the hospital believes there is no other option. If a parent refuses the treatment in these circumstances, a report may be made to CPS which then steps in. Even where the parent asks for a second opinion or wishes to conduct a test in another hospital, the hospital may refuse.
CPS may then launch an investigation, and depending on the outcome of the investigation, they may decide to ask the court to intervene. If a court agrees and gives an order to that effect, the parent may be forced to accept the unwanted medical treatment or risk losing their child and facing a criminal charge.
There are several other ways in which medical kidnapping occurs. A hospital may determine that the parents are interfering with the proper treatment of their child and refuse to let the child go home. They file a report to CPS which then takes action to obtain temporary custody of the child.
Other times, a parent may be faced with allegations of medical child abuse for obtaining unreasonable medical treatments for a child. Never mind that these treatments were the result of recommendations from other healthcare personnel at various hospitals. The end result can often be that the parent loses custody of their child temporarily, or even permanently.
What Are Your Rights Against Medical Kidnapping?
The rights of parents to care for and make good decisions on behalf of their children are protected under the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court itself has upheld these rights on numerous occasions and recognizes the “… fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” Troxel v. Granville 530 U.S. 57, at 65-6 (2000).
All parents have rights of decision and evaluation over their children. Your decision rights include the legal capacity to make medical and financial decisions on behalf of your children. You have the right to accept or reject medical treatments on behalf of your child and this right continues until the child becomes an adult.
Your evaluation rights include the right to seek independent evaluations of your child’s health needs. You are legally entitled to give or refuse consent to any medical evaluation of your child by an organization or hospital. You are entitled to request copies of all evaluation reports and vet the qualifications of specialists brought in for these evaluations.
Whenever any medical options are recommended and you do not feel comfortable, you have the right to voice your misgivings, seek other opinions, and reject any treatments you are genuinely against. Apart from this, you have a right to be free from abusive attacks on your honor, reputation, and your private and family life, even as you do this.
You should not be attacked for looking out for the best interests of your child. Attorney Allison has seen this happen to parents too many times and this is why she fights aggressively on behalf of her clients. Her efforts on behalf of families in this regard are well documented, included are well-known advocacy on behalf of the Godboldo family.
No parent should be made to face embarrassment, heartbreak, or criminal charges because they are trying to secure the best for their child. If you are being faced with a situation of medical kidnapping, you need to get in touch with Allison Folmar immediately.
Let Allison Folmar Fight on Your Behalf
It is the fundamental right of a parent to pursue the best interests of their child. No agency or organization should take that away from you on a whim. If you are being made to suffer a situation of medical kidnapping, call Attorney Allison Folmar for help today.