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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4788
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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During an "Amber Alert" in a hospital, is a nurse entitled

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During an "Amber Alert" in a hospital, is a nurse entitled to search another's persons belongings? Is this a violation of the fourth amendment? Am I entitled to decline a search request in this circumstance?

TexLawyer :

Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

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.

TexLawyer :

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.

TexLawyer :

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.

TexLawyer :

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.

Customer:

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.

TexLawyer :

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.

Customer:

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?

TexLawyer :

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.

TexLawyer :

Like I said, though, the 4th Amendment does not apply to the hospital since they are not a government actor.

Customer:

Hey, thanks. Frustrating situation.

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