Neglect is the failure to supply or meet a child’s primary physical, emotional, academic, and medical requirements. Parents or guardians may leave a child under the supervision of someone understood to be abusive, or they may leave a young child alone. There are many types of neglect.
Parents or guardians may fail to supply sufficient nourishment, clothing, protection, supervision, and shelter from potential harm in physical neglect.
In emotional neglect, parents or guardians may fail to supply appreciation, love, or other kinds of emotional reinforcement. Children may be overlooked, abandoned, or deterred from interacting with other children or adults.
Parents or guardians may not obtain proper care for the child in medical neglect, such as required treatment for wounds or physical or mental health conditions. Parents may postpone getting medical care when the child is ill, putting the child in danger of more extreme sickness and even death.
In educational neglect, parents or guardians may not enlist the child in school or ensure the child attends school in a standard location, such as a public or private school. Neglect varies from abuse in that usually, parents and guardians do not purposely mean to hurt children in their care.
Neglect usually results from a mixture of aspects such as inadequate parenting, inadequate stress-coping skills, unsupportive family strategies, and stressful life events. Neglect often transpires in low-income families encountering economic and environmental pressures, particularly those in which parents also have untreated mental health conditions (commonly depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia), use drugs or have an alcohol use condition, or have limited intellectual ability. Children in single-parent households may be at risk of neglect due to a lower income and fewer available resources.
What is Medical Neglect of a Child?
Medical neglect is characterized as a parent’s failure to supply sufficient medical or dental care for their child, particularly when needed to treat a severe bodily injury or illness. This can also include failing to provide psychiatric care if the child needs it in some cases. Furthermore, some jurisdictions may hold other parties responsible for medical neglect, such as guardians or caregivers who have a legal obligation to care for the child.
Neglect and abuse result from a complicated mixture of individual, family, and social factors. Being a single parent, being destitute, having a drug or an alcohol use disorder, having a mental problem (such as a personality disorder or low self-esteem), or a combination of these factors can make parents more likely to neglect or abuse a child. Likewise, adults who were physically or sexually abused as children are more likely to harm their own children. Neglect is pinpointed 12 times more frequently among children living in poverty than not.
First-time parents, juvenile parents, and parents who have several kids under the age of 5 are also at an inflated risk of abusing their children. Women who smoke, misuse drugs, or have a history of domestic violence while pregnant may be at risk of abusing their children.
Occasionally, healthy emotional bonds do not materialize between parents and kids. This absence of bonding happens more with premature babies or sick infants isolated from their parents early in infancy. Lack of bonding can also arise in biologically unrelated children (for instance, stepchildren), boosting the risk of abuse.
What Sorts of Acts are Thought to be Medical Neglect?
Different kinds of behavior and acts by the parent can amount to medical neglect of a child. Some of these may include:
- Denying or refusing the child access to medical care in a crisis;
- Refusing to support the child’s medical expenses for a critical illness without good cause;
- Neglecting medical advice by a doctor concerning a treatable condition; or
- Failing to distribute medicine to the child as specified by a physician.
These sorts of behavior may be more straightforward to verify if they result in substantial damage to the child’s health or if they result in recurring or extended periods of hospitalization. It must also be established that the treatment suggested would substantially help the child access healthcare, and the caretaker comprehends the circumstances (is mentally competent).
When it comes to religious exemptions from medical negligence law, states differ. Many allow parents to deny both preventative care and medicine to children. Typically, the exemption must be founded on genuine religious sentiments and the parents’ membership in an acknowledged religion or spiritual practice. For instance, the Christian Science sect is known for its confidence in faith healing. However, some states (such as Colorado) do not permit parents to deny their children medical treatment based on spiritual sentiments.
What Can a Doctor Do in Instances of Medical Neglect?
Doctors can involve extended family members and community resources and operate with the family to create a medical procedure that everyone comprehends. The doctor may also suggest further medical diagnostic tests and therapy with other providers if needed. Ultimately, they may direct the case to child services if no other alternative is obtainable.
Will Child Services Intercede in Claims of Medical Neglect?
In some cases, child service agencies may intercede in an extreme case of medical neglect. The child services agency may get a court order instructing the parent to temporarily relinquish custody of the child to the agency, promoting means for the needed medical care.
Intervention is a solemn measure that is usually devoted only to severe cases of medical neglect, such as when:
- Prompt medical treatment is needed for an emergency;
- The child has a life-threatening chronic illness and is not receiving the appropriate medical treatment (for instance, when a diabetic child isn’t obtaining their medicines); or
- The child has a chronic disease that may result in disfigurement or disability if untreated (for instance, if the child needs surgery to avert blindness).
When deciding whether or not to authorize intervention, the court will examine many additional factors, including the child’s best interests, the interests of the parent, and those of the state.
Are There Legal Consequences Associated with Medical Neglect of a Child?
In addition to the chance of a state-appointed intervention ensuing, medical neglect can also result in weighty legal consequences for the parent or caregiver. For instance, the parent may encounter criminal child abuse accusations, resulting in criminal penalties and potential jail time.
The parent may permanently lose their custody and visitation rights in severe circumstances. The parent may also find it challenging to get employment if it concerns the supervision or treatment of children or infants.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Problems Involving Medical Neglect?
Medical neglect is a grave matter and is not treated lightly by the courts. Suppose you have any legal questions, concerns, or disputes involving the medical neglect of a child. In that case, you should reach a family lawyer immediately.
Your lawyer can help represent you in court if you’re being called for an appearance. Furthermore, you may wish to hire a local family attorney if you need to document any instances of medical neglect that you are aware of. This can help stop the child from suffering any damages or difficulties from a medical condition.