Though freedom of religion exists, this freedom does not allow people to break the law. In this particular turning the records over to the mother may endanger the safety of the child. In addition the hospital could be held liable if they turn the records over and something happens to the child because it would be considered a decision that was made in bad faith.
There are also federal laws that protect minors as it pertains to matters of reproductive health. These laws are part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA. Laws containted in this act are designed to allow girls under the age of 18 to have control of their sexual and reproductive health. Under this law teenage girls can receive treatment for STDs and abortions without the consent of their parents. Although this is a federal statute, indivudal states have the right to determine whether or not paretns should be notofied in the aforementioned instances. In some states minors under the age of 16 or 17 must have parental consent as it pertains to abortions. In addiition in some states parents have the right to notified if their child is found to be pregnant by a healthcare provider including school nurses.
In the scenario presented in this case, the mother is already made aware of the abuse and the pregnancy.
Her contention is that she have a right to not only see the medical records but to alter them. Clearly this is in violation of both state and federal laws.
As it pertains to the aspect of the law regarding reproductive health What practical recommendations do you have to avoid similar problems in the future?
Avoiding similar situations may not be possible. These types of situations will always present themselves. However, the healthcare facility must train employees in accordance with the law as it pertains to medical reports and the sexual and reproductive health of minors. The medical professionals should have called the police in this particular situation because there was an allegation of rape. In this instance once the child alleged the abuse and the first instinct of the mother was to change the medical records instead of protecting the child, the mother should have been detained by law enforcement and not given any further access to the child or her medical records. The medical facility needs to establish the proper protocol to ensure that the minor is protected when these situations occur.
Health and Safety Code). HEALTH and SAFETY CODE
Smith, S.K. (2007) Mandatory Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect. http://www.smithlawfirm.com/mandatory_reporting.htm.