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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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We are at UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh (8/23/15).

Customer Question

We are at UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh (8/23/15). We brought our daughter, who is 17 and graduated high school, to the emergency room last Saturday (8/15/15) for significant weight loss due stomach pain which led to trouble eating. She has always eaten - just smaller portions and we have regulated her diet to foods that reduce or limit the pain in her stomach when she eats. She is 5'6" and her normal weight is 113lbs. She currently weighs 95lbs. She had had several GI visits that resulted in no diagnosis and no "crisis mode". Her last GI visit was on 8/6/15 she weighed 93lbs and again no "crisis mode". After arriving at the emergency room she was admitted and has had many tests and procedures which have all come up with no diagnosis. The only recorded issue is her weight (BMI is 15.3) and low heart rate in the upper 40's while sleeping and 60 while awake. She has always had an average heart rate of 60. At this point they are determining it is malnutrition and since Wednesday
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.
What is your medical question about the situation?
I understand the situation, but you have not asked a question, or perhaps your post was cut off before you got there
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is the hospital allowed to hold our daughter against our will. We tried to leave by AMA but they said Child and Youth Services would be called, our medical bills wouldn't be paid by our insurance provider, and that security and local police have been notified to not let us leave the building with her. What are our rights. She is 17 and has a high school diploma.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had asked a lot of questions at the end of the post but Im not sure if they got cut off.
Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.
If they think she is endangered by leaving they can call child services.
Her BMI is critical.
The question is why.
Eating disorder is the first likelihood.
You are really starting to ask legal questions, not medical questions.
Let me know if you have further medical questions.
OK, so that is an initial answer….
Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. When you are ready, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent]. If you forgot something, come back. I am here daily
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That was my purpose for contacting this site was for the legality of the situation. They were for legal information not necessarily medical. We have done a lot of medical research and we are finding the information we needed that would coincide with her release. We don't feel she is a danger to herself and that her physical well being are not in serious jeopardy - thats why we were willing to DAMA. My questions were strictly for the legality and our rights versus the hospital rights.
Expert:  Sam replied 1 year ago.


This is Samuel. I am an attorney on this site, are you still needing to know if you can legally take your daughter out of the hospital? Do you want to bring her home or have her go to another hospital or home and see her physician as a follow up?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We would like to take her home and follow up with our PCP. She has met the milestones they wanted to see in the time period.
The main legal question is "Can they keep her against our will?" "If so, under what circumstances can they hold her legally and what has to change for us to be able to sign her out?""Can they seek a court order for custody?"Her assigned doctor and their team are refusing to let us to leave because they are saying she is at a very high risk for cardiac arrest, we spoke to several other doctors outside of this hospital, two of which reviewed her records and don't see the "high risk", there is a small risk until she is back to her normal weight, but she has shown enough consistent stability that we should be ok to leave and begin outpatient therapy.
Expert:  Sam replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Adult patients or the parent or legal guardian of a minor (under the age of 18) have a right to remove their children from a hospital even without release orders. Otherwise, the hospital can be held and possibly charged criminally for False Imprisonment.
And so, while you can take her out of the hospital, even against the recommendation of the physicians, if they feel that your daughter is in danger - they can report it to the Child Protective Services. However, if you are taking her to her PCP then CPS has no grounds.
If CPS were to investigate, and you were not seeking medical attention for her elsewhere, they could have you charged with some sort of child neglect or abuse.