Story doesn’t seem plausible. Hospitals generally respect people’s privacy rights, and don’t let social workers wander the halls or badger people.
If a parent is refusing consent to medical care for a child, the decision to override is made by a medical professional – doctor, nurse practioner, physican’s assistant (maybe, under unusual circumstances) or pharmacist (in a very limited set of circumstances).
Nurses and doctors don’t hop-to when a social worker (or cop for that matter) give orders.
Nurses and doctors don’t check with a social worker to figure out whether the parent has given consent; they check with the parent. If the mom is too sick to give consent, they check with the dad. If the mom is sick and the dad isn’t there, the doctor documents and then makes the decisions.
Likely – the parents declined to give consent to treatment until questions were answered, and the doctor went on to the next patient, leaving the nurse to explain. Likely there were two doctors – an OB/GYN for the mom, and a pediatrian for the baby, and neither one wanted to spend extra time explaining stuff. The nurse couldn’t explain adequately, and says “wait for the doctor to come back.” Maybe a bad nurse or bad doctor would punt to a social worker to explain the importance of giving consent to treat. It is completely likely that once a social worker was invovled, that they would lie and badger.
Parents decline treatment all the time. No blood draw to test for jaundice, no problem. Delay the vaccines for 3 days? No problem, but be sure to come back in or we’ll report you.
Now, if you refuse to have the baby foot-printed (like a finger print, useful for quickly ID’ing mixed up babies), the picture taken, patient bar-code bracelets, and the baby anti-theft bracelet – the staff will be annoyed, and some states might have laws to prevent baby-stealing.
There is also no way a hospital would let a new mom leave early without a fight. They would never kick her out for not signing a safety plan. Not see her baby – maybe. But women who just gave birth are gold mines, even without any insurance. There is no expense a doctor can request payment for that the state won’t cover for the first 72 hours, even without paperwork that the woman is poor or qualifies for aid. The aid is automatic. There are no gaps. Likely that she absolutely refused to be treated, and demanded to be released from the hospital, and they finally told her she could leave, but please come back every 3 hours to feed your baby.
As a separate plausbility factor, virtually everyone in the OB/GYN ward is fanatically committed to the ideals of motherhood. Every nurse, every doctor fought to get there. They are true believers in baby-needs-to-nurse, mommy needs to recover, both mommy and baby need to bond.
Speculatively, if the baby had narcotics or alcohol in the system, the hospital might have been aggressive in protecting the baby, and the parents aggressive in fighting back. Speculatively, if the baby needed immediate medical care, the doctors might have dropped the ball in explaining, which would make the parents justifiable enraged (and speculatively, willing to exagerrate their story).
Wow Dustydog… you seem to have it all figured out. Nice to put your spin on it with absolutely no investigation at all. I highly doubt HSLDA would put their resources out there if this was like you seem to think. I know first hand how arrogant some doctors and nurses can get when they find out you don’t want your child getting injections. I don’t have all of the facts either, but I sure wouldn’t discount the victim until there was more information available.
“A lawsuit whose damages will effectively deter anyone from thinking about a repeat.”
There’s really no such thing, unless the specific individuals pay for it themselves. The hospital can be influenced with lawsuits. But government employees don’t really care. A neighboring city gets sued all the time, but they haven’t changed a thing because the mayor and city council are just paying tax revenues back out.
I was under the impression that the individuals were on the hook for damages under a 1983 suit. The article certainly implies that the root cause was the hospital’s great fear of an obstetrics malpractice sit.