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What is 50% medical decision making worth?

Solidshadow7's picture

Does anyone have experience with the 50% legal medical decision making common in many of todays COs and what kind of power or control that actually gives someone?

I am asking because the BM seems to have some kind of munchausen's syndrome. She believes that SS4 is always seriously ill, and she regularly tries to use this to control DH.

DH and BM live 50 miles apart. They technically have 50/50 but the days are split funny so BM has SS all weekdays during the school year, making doctors appointments difficult or impossible for DH to attend/schedule/be involved in. She uses a pediatrician through an urgent care place.

Save for one time he threw up, and maybe some sniffles DH and I have never seen SS sick. He might sneeze once in a while, or occasionally clear his throat out in the morning but we have not seen anything indicating that he suffers from either allergies or asthma. We had him for 3 months straight in the summer and he ran a fever of 100 degrees for 2 days at one point. That was literally it.

BM on the other hand, has pulled him out of school (VPK, so not mandatory school) 15 days so far this year (since September) to bring him to the doctor for his recurrent severe illnesses always requiring antibiotics, his severe allergies, and to control his supposed chronic asthma? While according the CO DH provides health insurance, she has also added SS to her father's insurance and uses that one so we can't see exactly how much medical care this child is actually being subjected to when he is with her.

She has gotten SS a prescription for albuterol, and a nebulizer where he supposedly requires DAILY breathing treatments. Albuterol is a stimulant, and SS tends to come from BM's hyper and bouncing off the walls. He also constantly complains of a dry throat. (Another side effect of albuterol) In addition SS has a heart murmur, and my father, who is a doctor says that albuterol can in rare cases actually cause a heart attack, and should never be used by someone who doesn't actually really need to be using it. BM also has him on prescription allergy medications, and every few weekends she sends him over on course of antibiotics or another because he was so sick she was "forced" to keep him out of school all week.

Given that DH and I have never seen SS with symptoms of asthma or allergies, we have never administered any medications save for antibiotics as we don't want to breed antibiotic resistance bacteria incase SS really was sick. Ceasing the medication (which we do 3 days a week and for 3 months straight in the summer) has no ill effects, except SS stops bouncing off the walls, and stops being hoarse and complaining of a dry throat after a day.

DH has only been able to get in contact with BM's pediatrician by phone for about 3 minutes after calling for weeks, and she said that SS is too young to determine whether or not he has asthma, (although he may since BM's father has it) but albuterol can also be prescribed to help with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. DH was unable to get further information or clarification on this before the doctor had to go.

SS4 has now gotten verbal enough to start asking for/demanding his medication because he is very sick boy and his mommy says he needs it. (He actually refused to go to bed one night until we gave him some cough syrup although he had no cough) So we told him that at daddy's house, he only gets medication when he's actually sick. BM then texted saying that SS told her that we said he doesn't need breathing treatments and he is refusing to cooperate, and says that unless we buy our own nebulizer for $300, fill our own prescription for his meds and send her proof of us administering all of the meds he needs she will no longer be sending him over as we are endangering his safety.

1) I believe medication must travel between households and she cannot demand proof, although there is no verbage about this in the CO. Am I correct?

2) Is there anything at all DH can do to stop BM from convincing SS that he's sick, keeping him out of school (not mandatory, only really daycare at this point) because he's supposedly sick, and constantly pumping him full of medication that he may not actually need?

I know for example if SS had cancer and DH refused to take him for chemo, that would be considered medically negligent. Is it medically negligent not to give him allergy meds? How about medication designed to save people from asthma attacks when he is asymptomatic of any asthma or upper respiratory difficulty?

In other words, can DH stop her from doing this, or can BM force him to do it as well?


mommadukes2015's picture

The way joint medical usually works is that if one parent doesn't consent to a procedure/course of treatment it shouldn't be done. The most typical example you'll see on here is braces or therapy. BM is clearly working to cover up SS's medical history and DH has the right to request all of it. I would find out what doctors he goes to and request a transcript of his medical records (which today is easy enough as they're typically shared with a patient through an online portal). If they don't, I would fax over a copy of your CO that states he has 50% decision making authority and there's nothing she can do about it because it's his right.

Then I would, with your insurance, take SS to your own doctor and have him assessed. THEN I would take the outcomes of that office visit and any follow up straight to the courthouse and if it is so warranted by the evidence press the issue of "medical negligence" on BM's behalf because over medicating a child IS medically negligent. I wonder if the cough syrup is to get the little bugger to sleep faster. And if he "bounces off the walls" when he's not on his meds and with you.....well I think we know where this is going.

Solidshadow7's picture

To clarify, he doesn't bounce off the walls when he is with us, he comes from BM's bouncing off the walls because albuterol is a stimulant. His disposition when he is not being medicated is pretty calm. The cough syrup is homeopathic, it seems you can't give most meds to children under age 6.
Any ideas on how to find out what doctors she actually takes him to if its not on DH's insurance because BM is using her own?

Peridwen's picture

The way my DH's lawyer put it: Legally both parents must agree on all medical decisions. If one parent doesn't agree, it cannot happen. If one parent and a doctor agree, the court will likely side with the doctor in the event the parent against the action takes the matter to court. In reality, if both parents cannot agree on medical decisions, the pediatrician is the tie-breaker. In an event that you describe, DH needs to first make a documented request for BM to agree to SS being evaluated by a different pediatrician for a second opinion. This gives DH the high ground in a court case in showing that he tried working with BM before going off on his own for the benefit of SS.

Hopefully you have all of BM's medical directions in writing. DH should also request a copy of SS's medical records from the doctor's office. That will show what medications he should be on and what they were prescribed for. With those items in hand (and assuming the doctor's records match BM's directions), DH can take SS to a pediatrician of his own choosing for a second opinion. But he cannot ask/require BM to pay any co-pays or additional expenses from that visit. If the second pediatrician's evaluation differs significantly from SS's primary doctor, DH will have grounds to request a new primary doctor and possibly medical decision-making (long-shot unless you have proof BM was lying about the original medication directions and administering meds falsely.)

She also said in cases regarding the medical care, the opinions of the doctor(s) will weigh heavier than the opinions of the parent. Make sure all the documentation also gives the reason for the second opinion being for the benefit of SS.

Solidshadow7's picture

I understand that the doctors opinion would be held in higher regard than a parent, but how does it work for voluntary stuff? Or stuff for comfort and not necessarily health?

For example, I took my friend to urgent care last week because she was running a fever of 104 and coughing like crazy. The doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia and gave her an antibiotic, which I would agree is medically necessary. But when the friend insisted that she was horrifically uncomfortable because of her symptoms and she could not wait a day or two for the antibiotic to kick in, the doctor also prescribed her some kind of trazadone Tylenol combination for the pain. The doctor did it rather hesitantly, only because both her and I were insistent that the poor girl had suffered enough. This prescription painkiller is not technically medically necessary, the doctor only agreed to prescribe it because the friend was complaining.

Now, the antibiotic was necessary, the trazadone was not, and in fact as trazadone is a narcotic, one can argue there are many reasons NOT to prescribe it (addiction, drowsiness, etc)

But the medical record from the doctor will say something along the lines of "patient has pneumonia, prescribed antiobiotic + trazadone, take twice a day. This would make it appear that the doctor is requiring the patient to take trazadone in order to get better, but that's not really the case.

So when BM takes SS to the doctor insisting that he's having asthma attacks and sneezing and coughing and cant breathe, the doctor will prescribe allergy meds and albuterol, (even if SS is asymptomatic in his office because mom is insisting) and would prescribe both more for comfort (like the trazadone for my friend) but the medical records will make it appear both that SS is sick (because mom says he is) and that these meds are medically necessary, because the record will only say "complained of chronic upper respiratory, prescribed albuterol and nebulizer, administer daily"

I mean, am I wrong?
How does one get around the fact that if one parent can convince a doctor to prescribe anything for any reason, doesn't that then automatically trump the opinion of the other parent because a doctor prescribed it? Anyone can go in complaining of anxiety and chronic back pain and come home with a suitcase full of highly addictive psych and pain meds all of which they would be much better off not taking.

Peridwen's picture

Both SS11 and BS5 suffer from pretty bad eczema, to the point that they each have a standing RX for a cream that is stronger than those available OTC. Both of their medical records state : Use cream 2x daily while symptoms occur. I've always seen that modifier on medications that are not meant for specific length intervals. SS11 is supposed to be on Claritin 1x per day to help mitigate his symptoms - this one is meant to be every day until his next doctor's appointment, and it does not have the modifier on it.

The second doctor will also be able to read the medical record and should be able to determine if the prescriptions were meant for prolonged daily use or if it was meant to be an as needed item. The second doctor is Dad's protection against the court siding with BM simply because of the primary pediatrician. If it comes to a court case, Dad's lawyer can also request the doctor appear to explain the prescriptions and describe how they are to be used.

You aren't going to be able to get the doctor to say that BM demanded the medication against her advice, because the doctor did not HAVE to provide it. The doctor felt the symptoms made the medication viable. Whether the doctor changes her mind upon hearing the information from Dad is a different story.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

You need to take the child for your own doctor visit to get a second opinion. Get records from his current doctor and bring them.

This sounds like a case of medical abuse. DO NOT EVER GIVE MEDICINE THE CHILD DOES NOT NEED. Even cough medicine just to shut him up and get him to go to bed since that is consider medical abuse. You are giving medication the child doesn't need.

The kid needs a therapist to deal with this illness she is putting in his head .

ndc's picture

Is it possible that there is something in or at BM's house that gives the child allergy and asthma symptoms? That's another explanation for him being fine at your house and always sick at hers. I would try to have a more productive talk with the child's doctor, and explain that NONE of the symptoms exist at your house at all, including for three full months in the summer. I would think that would be a huge factor in the doctor's opinion of what is wrong with the child. I would also take the child for a second opinion on the allergies/asthma. With 50/50 medical, you should be able to do this.

lieutenant_dad's picture

This is what I was thinking. Asthma and allergies all have triggers, and if BM's home is full of triggers while yours has none, then he's only going to get sick at BM's (or other places with those triggers).

Smoking, pet dander, dust mites, mold, strong perfumes, cleaning products - these are common triggers for asthma and allergies. More rarely, food can cause respiratory issues versus more typical digestive issues or anaphylaxis.

OP, your DH needs to get his son a second opinion, preferably from an allergist or pulmonologist. If he needs THAT much medication, the kid needs a specialist. BM will probably scream her head off about it and refuse to allow your DH to get treatment, but I'd let her scream. Let her explain to a judge why she does whatever she wants but your DH can't, and why she is up in arms about DH getting a second opinion when he's just trying to help his son.

ESMOD's picture

The loophole will almost always be that emergency/urgent situations will trump any parental cooperation/decision making. Also, if a treatment is deemed medically necessary then cooperation of the other parent may not be required. It's not like braces or some experimental treatment.

In this case, I think his father needs to take the boy to the doctor for independent medical assessments. If he has joint custody he should be able to request records from the other physicians so that prior test results etc.. would be available for review.

I just read an article today about a woman who had a Munchhausen issue and was making her kid sick and the bio father had a hard time proving it in the courts... but I think at the very least your husband needs to make an effort to be involved in the doctor's visits, or arrange his own consultations because over medication and unnecessary procedures can be harmful.

JustGettingUsedToThis's picture

I don't know but I think it would be worth it. Munchhausen is pretty serious. Imagine if she were a vaccine denier or something, too.