CASE STUDIES

When life is threatened, children can be treated against the will of their parents

When life is threatened children can be treated against the will of their parents

A child in Utah was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue.  In this case, the child’s parents refused to treat him.  The State of Utah brought medical neglect proceedings against the parents in Juvenile Court – which ordered the treatment.  The parents fled the State with their son and the State dropped the case.  Then, the plaintiffs sued the State-employed pediatric oncologists who had sought the order for deprivation of their civil rights.  SCM represented the oncologists in this matter.  After lengthy discovery, summary judgment was granted.  When the plaintiffs appealed, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court affirmed the decision and sent the case back to the State court, where it was dismissed once again on a summary judgment that was affirmed by the Utah Supreme Court.  These important cases established that, in life-threatening cases, the State of Utah has the duty and power to use the Juvenile Courts to obtain orders to treat children against the will of their parents.

For more information contact: Andrew M. Morse

Andrew M. Morse