Scottsdale, AZ asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Health Care Law for Arizona

Q: How can I get a hospital to give me info on a newborn relative?

My brother and his girlfriend just had a baby. They both have drug issues. I tried to get info from the hospital but they evaded me and wouldn't say anything. No idea how the baby is doing and haven't even seen her yet, she was born a week ago. Was getting ready to start paperwork to take custody but our mother was hospitalized and baby was a month early.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: This is a very small amount of information in what is almost certainly a complex situation. With that caveat, the short answer is: you can't. There is no "how." The answer is just "no." You do not have a right to the information. It is a violation of federal law for the hospital to provide you any information. Hospitals are EXTREMELY careful about the disclosure of personally-identifiable healthcare information or PHI.

To go beyond your question, you are going to need evidence of abuse or neglect before you will have any chance of convincing a court to give you custody. If your brother and his girlfriend have drug issues and are willing to AGREE to giving you custody, you could draft an agreement (ideally with the assistance of a lawyer skilled in family law matters but, at a minimum, contained in a notarized writing). If you believe you have evidence of abuse or neglect, you need to file a case with the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Protecting the child should be your number one priority; determining who gets custody is secondary.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.