Thursday, April 05, 2018

Arizona Appeals Court Invalidates Hotline Procedure For Overruling Parental Objections To Medical Treatment

In Glenn H. v. Hoskins, (AZ App., April 3, 2018), an Arizona state appeals court invalidated the "hot line" procedure that hospitals in Maricopa County use to obtain emergency orders to treat minors over the religious or other objections of their parents.  In the case, Jehovah's Witness parents objected to the use of blood transfusions in the treatment of their 14-year old son for bone cancer.  Apparently the boy agreed with his parents' decision.  Vacating the trial court's order authorizing medical treatment for the boy, the appeals court concluded that there are no provisions in Arizona statutes permitting courts to rule before a complaint has been filed, adding:
However well-intended the emergency hotline may be, the superior court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to entertain ex parte oral requests in the absence of specific statutory authorization.  See Redewill v. Superior Court, 43 Ariz. 68, 81 (1934) (“A court cannot do something not authorized by law, because it may think it is ‘just as good,’ or even better than the thing which the law does sanction.”)
AP reports on the decision.