Medical Neglect

January 15, 2020

Parents are obligated to provide proper care for their children. For a parent or other legal guardian to neglect their child’s basic needs is a form of child abuse. Even when abuse is not evident, children may still be harmed by neglect. There are several forms of neglect, including physical, emotional, environmental, educational, supervisory, and medical.

Medical neglect occurs when a child is denied necessary medical care. Usually the child’s health is in danger, such as when they are not receiving the medical attention they need to keep a medical condition in check or to address a serious illness from getting worse. Medical neglect occurs when a child is repeatedly denied medical care for an ongoing health issue or the child is left vulnerable to serious health consequences. In extreme cases, a parent or guardian may be charged with medical neglect for withholding medical care with the intent to cause the child’s death.

Types of Medical Neglect

Certain types of medical treatment are crucial to a child’s overall health. Caregivers may be charged with medical neglect for either denying access to medical attention, or for failing to follow medical advice once it is given. Denying the following types of medical attention may constitute medical negligence:

  • Injury or emergency care
  • Ongoing treatment for a medical condition
  • Dental issues
  • Psychiatric care

Another issue that may influence a charge of medical neglect is if the parent or guardian refuses to pay for the child’s medical expenses. Child services can intervene by getting the child the medical attention they need. This can happen in cases of emergency situations or chronic illnesses that threaten to leave the child disfigured or disabled if untreated.

Religious Exemptions

Some religious groups are considered exempt from medical neglect laws. This is not the case in every state, but in those that allow exemptions, the claim must come from a recognized religion or faith that is known to hold such beliefs, such as Scientologists who believe in prayer healing.

Legal Consequences

A parent or guardian who committed medical neglect may be charged with criminal child abuse, which involves fines or jail time. Custody and visitation rights may be revoked in serious cases. Employment opportunities involving childcare would likely be affected.

New Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Help Those Accused of Medical Neglect

If you were accused of medical neglect, speak to a New Jersey DCPP lawyer at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker. We can help you fight the allegations against you and demonstrate that you are willing and able to tend to the health and welfare of your child. Contact us online or call us at 856-795-9400 for an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.

Ted Baker Map