Q: can visitation by family be denied by a hospital pending an investigation by the county sheriff's office with no reason
son was taken to emergency by EMS the 31st July 2019(wednesday) . WE (parents) followed to emergency waited 21/2 -3 hours, were denied infomation as to son's status. The nest day Aug 1 after my wife's cataract surgury, we went to the hospital entrance and were sent to the on duty police officer and he took us to the nurses stated that no visitation was allowed until the investigation was completed. That afternoon two sheriff deputies came to the house and asked to see the boy's living quarters, and couldn't way anything about the investigation or rational for it. We allowed them to enter. Today we went to the Hospital again,asked to see him, was given his room number which we then went to .Son was sitting in bed with a meal before him, complained of chest pains and then a nurse came in and told us we had to leave, that no visitors were allowed. And rather than having security called and all that entails. we complied. She stated that she did not know anthing about his condition and
A: I believe you're asking the wrong question, but I'll go ahead and answer it before I talk about the right question. Certainly there could be cases where a hospital might legitimately deny parents visitation with their son. For example, your son might have requested hospital staff to deny visitation without giving you a reason. More likely, however, is that staff thought they had good reason to call police. Maybe they found illegal drugs in his possession. Or your son might have told them he'd recently used illegal drugs like heroin or other opioids and was going into withdrawal.
Hospitals shouldn't call the police under such circumstances, because doctor/patient privilege and confidentiality of patient medical condition go right out the window. Unfortunately, this occurs far too often.
Now the question you should be asking is this: "Is our son under arrest? " Secondarily, "what can we do to help him?"
What you should do here is immediately hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent your son. You didn't say how old he is, what his medical complaint was on Wednesday or why he needed to be transported by EMS to the hospital instead of just having you or a friend drive him there?
From the facts you did provide, I can tell you that your son is probably being illegally detained and the hospital is helping law enforcement get away with it. A lawyer can file a writ of habeas corpus and get a bond set for your son if he is indeed under arrest. If he's not under arrest, the lawyer can probably get him released without having to post bond. A good, sharp lawyer shouldn't press for release without posting bond, because the police will usually just file charges later and arrest him. It's much more desirable to arrange release on your son's own recognizance. That way when charges get filed later down the road, he won't be re-arrested because he's already on bond.
The fact that neither the police officer nor Sheriff's deputies would tell you he's under arrest almost certainly means he isn't under arrest yet. When you briefly saw him on Thursday, he wasn't being guarded or even physically restrained, correct. Otherwise you'd have mentioned his hospital room was locked or he was handcuffed to his bed. And you didn't say either of those things.
So my long-winded-- apologies-- advice is to get him a lawyer quick. And never let law enforcement personnel into your house again unless they produce a warrant. They are not going to help you... ever.
Kiele Linroth Pace agrees with this answer
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.