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Medical neglect is the failure to provide medical dental or psychiatric care that is necessary to prevent or treat serious physical or emotional injury or illness. Neglect occurs not only when a parent refuses medical care for a child in an emergency or for an acute illness, but also when a parent ignores medical recommendations for a child with a treatable chronic disease or disability, which results in frequent hospitalizations or significant deterioration. Even in non-emergency situations, medical neglect can result in poor overall health and compounded medical problems.
Child protective services agencies generally intervene when:
In the above situations, the child protection services agencies may seek a court order for medical treatment to save the child’s life or prevent life-threatening injury, disability or disfigurement.
Usually in determining whether a parent’s refusal to consent to medical treatment amounts to neglect, the courts use three approaches: