Q: Can I talk to my sons doctors/providers about his treatment while emergency temporary custody is with his grandparents?
I was just informed that my sons paternal grandparents filed, and were granted, emergency temporary custody of my son while I was receiving inpatient treatment for my mental health. I also just learned he has been hospitalized for suicidal ideation, which I was not informed of at all. I have always had full legal custody of him. With this order in place, am I able to call and talk to the hospital and his other providers about how he is doing and what treatment he is receiving?
A: It appears that you will need legal representation in a guardianship dispute and you can file a Motion for appointment of counsel by the Court if you are indigent. If you are not indigent then you should engage counsel once you are able to do so. It appears that you will need to take care of your own mental health first so that you would be in a position to make decisions for the child who has some difficulties. Without having the orders extant reviewed by counsel , whether or not you have authority to obtain medical records at this point in time is unclear and there are confidentiality concerns of the child, also in issue. The Court can appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the best interests of the child and potentially also a privilege waiver guardian ad litem if the Court so finds the need.
Whether you have the right to talk with your son‘s doctor(s) first depends upon the court Order that is currently in place regarding legal custody of your son. Thus, if the emergency order grants sole legal custody to his paternal grandparents as guardians, which it likely does, then only they have the legal right to get information from the doctor(s). The doctor(s) can legally only take information from you and cannot give you information.
In addition, mental health providers will have to abide by client privilege with your son.
You should consult with an attorney before speaking with the doctors Or the grandparents since your statements may be used against you in the guardianship case. If you are indigent, you can call the clerk’s office and see how to file a Motion for court appointed counsel. If not, Local Bar Associations also have Lawyer referral services including lawyers who provide reduced fees for people who qualify.
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