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Child custody at center stage in alleged medical abuse case

A 15-year-old girl from Connecticut is currently in state custody in Massachusetts, being locked up in the psychiatric department of a hospital. She was placed there, and has remained in the unit for more than 10 months, following doctors' claims that she was being inappropriately treated and that her parents were combative and denying her needed care. The hospital's communications with state officials questioned an earlier diagnosis and put the concept of so-called medical child abuse front and center in the case.

Although the parents have fought persistently for the return of their daughter, she remains in state custody with no clear indications of how the matter might ultimately be resolved. There have been multiple judicial hearings in the case, with yet another hearing scheduled for later this week.

The matter is broadly relevant for its focus on parental actions dictating the medical care of a child. Especially concerning medical child abuse, questions have been raised concerning whether a limit attaches to parental prerogatives and, if so, where that limit resides.

We will keep readers posted of material developments in the case.

Source: The Boston Globe, "No release for Conn. teen caught in hospital dispute," Neil Swidey and Patricia Wen, Dec. 21, 2013

A 15-year-old girl from Connecticut is currently in state custody in Massachusetts, being locked up in the psychiatric department of a hospital. She was placed there, and has remained in the unit for more than 10 months, following doctors' claims that she was being inappropriately treated and that her parents were combative and denying her needed care. The hospital's communications with state officials questioned an earlier diagnosis and put the concept of so-called medical child abuse front and center in the case.

Although the parents have fought persistently for the return of their daughter, she remains in state custody with no clear indications of how the matter might ultimately be resolved. There have been multiple judicial hearings in the case, with yet another hearing scheduled for later this week.

The matter is broadly relevant for its focus on parental actions dictating the medical care of a child. Especially concerning medical child abuse, questions have been raised concerning whether a limit attaches to parental prerogatives and, if so, where that limit resides.

We will keep readers posted of material developments in the case.

Source: The Boston Globe, "No release for Conn. teen caught in hospital dispute," Neil Swidey and Patricia Wen, Dec. 21, 2013

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