Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.
There are two separate questions here. The first is whether the nurse has the right to search. The second is whether it is a 4th Amendment violation.
The answer to both questions is, no, the nurse does not have the right to search your person, but if she did, it is not a violation of the Constitution.
The nurse is not a peace officer, so you are under no legal obligation to follow her commands. You can simply decline and walk off.
However, a search conducted by a nurse is not a "search" in a 4th Amendment sense, since the search is not being conducted by the government.
I am a physician who was asked by a nurse to see contents of my back pack. I declined. Today, in a meeting with the Chief Medical Officer of my hospital I was chastised for not being a "team player" or taking the Amber alert seriously.
The hospital may have their own policies, especially regarding physicians with privileges at the hospital, but that is more of a contractual right, not a legal right.
By entering in the hospital I don't forsake my fourth amendment rights. There appeared to be no probable cause to justify the requested search, it was blatantly obvious that my back pack it not contain an infant. I am very frustrated with the approach of the CMO. I am not a hospital employee, and feel bullied and threatened by my encounter with the CMO. In sum, it seems that the "amber alert" does not empower a non-peace officer the right to perform what I regard an unreasonable search. True?
Correct. Even an amber alert does not empower a nurse with the powers of a police officer. Under no circumstance could the hospital FORCE you into a search.
Like I said, though, the 4th Amendment does not apply to the hospital since they are not a government actor.
Hey, thanks. Frustrating situation.