SB 1182: Who should make medical choices for your child YOU OR THE STATE?

SB 1182: Who should make medical choices for your child YOU OR THE STATE?

This bill’s Statement of Purpose:
This legislation amends Section 16-1602, Idaho Code to strike and add language to the definition of”neglected” child in those instances where a parent has been advised and educated abouttheir child’s declining health, or in instances where the parents were not genuinely treating by spiritual means through prayer, to be properly investigated and perhaps prosecuted.
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..the child shall not be deemed to be neglected unless the failure to receive medical treatment is likely to result in serious permanent injury or death, and in determining whether such child has been neglected, the court shall consider the wishes of the child.

SB 1182

Before we allow the wording of our state code to be changed in regard to child neglect, we must understand the legal definitions and ramifications of each and every word in statute. We need to understand how a court would interpret the following terms and phrases from SB 1182.

  • ”medical treatment” – what is the definition of this? Would this include only treatment from a licensed physician? What about a parent who wants the opinion of multiple care providers? What treatments does this phrase include? Acupuncture? IV vitamin therapy? Or only pharmaceutical products?
  • ”likely to result in serious permanent injury or death” – what does ‘likely’ mean? A certain percentage of likelihood? What is that percentage? And what is the legal definition of ‘serious permanent injury’?
  • ”in determining neglect, court shall consider the wishes of the child.” – at what age and/or level of consciousness does a child become able to participate in the decision-making for their care and/or determine whether they were ‘neglected’?

Those advocating for this change in statute argue ‘Children DIE when they don’t receive medical treatment.’

In changing the definition of neglect, parents who choose alternative means of treatment for their children will be accused of neglect, so that their sick child can be forced into State Approved Medical Treatment.
Is this amendment to Idaho code really designed to save the lives of our infants and children or is its intent to force parents into compliance?

This bill falsely assumes that medical treatment is black and white as if it was as is as go to the doctor, get healed.
Medical diagnosis and treatment options are never black and white. They are complicated and multifaceted procedures that carry risks.
Parents have the responsibility AND THE GOD GIVEN RIGHT to consider risks in their choice of medical treatments. 

Medical treatment does NOT always prevent permanent injury and death, in fact many times it causes those.

Interesting side note:
Roughly one in 10 parents spotted mistakes that physicians did not, according to the study of safety incidents observed on two pediatrics units at a hospital in Boston.

Here in Idaho, seven month old August Elliot was a victim of medical treatment error at St Luke’s Hospital in Twin Falls. August had a heart condition that caused an elevated heart rate. The ailment is rarely life-threatening and was being controlled with medication.  His parents had faith in modern medical treatments and brought him to hospital believing that the doctors and nurses would provide appropriate care for their son.
Accidently a nurse treating 7-month-old August administered an adult dose of medication.

This medical error killed August. The baby’s nurse was not prosecuted because his intent was not to harm or kill the precious child.
Are we holding parents to a different standard?

1182 is said to be necessary to save the lives of our children. What if the change of code was in effect before August’s parents made that fateful decision to allow his admission to St Luke’s for medical treatment? What if this young couple decided to use alternative or natural means to treat their son that day?

Under this new definition of child neglect, August’s parent’s choices would be labeled as neglectful. Their baby would be removed from their care to receive the mandated State approved medical treatment that would ultimately take his life.  

Would SB 1182 save baby August’s life? No.
But it would destory his family. Once accused of neglect, CPS would have even greater authority to remove August’s brothers from their family. Nothing could be more damaging than the government tearing apart a loving family whose intent was to do what they believed best for their sick child.

What if we apply this definition change to the infants death of 2013.

82 newborn infants died.
77 died AFTER receiving medical treatment.
It is reported that five newborns deaths could have been prevented with proper and timely medical treatment.

However, these babies born at home and died as newborns in the arms of their mothers.

If this statute had been in place, how would their deaths be prevented?

Where is the evidence that this would this amendment to Idaho code would have saved the lives of our children?

There is a very real move on the part of our Child Protective community to remove parental right to the choice of health care treatment options for their children. This statute change would increase their authority to remove children based on personal opinion that courts should mandate a specific method of care. 

Watch Jean fischer’s statements to the Legislative Workgroup August 2016.


Dead by Mistake:

Stories of Injury and Death by hospitals across the nation:

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