Will My Defense Attorney Be Apprised Of Any Progress In The Investigation Of My Medical Child Abuse Case?
Unfortunately, it is almost unheard of for a person suspected of Medical Child Abuse to receive updates from the police or prosecutor in an ongoing investigation. This is one of the most difficult factors in an MCA investigation.
As a parent or custodial guardian, you have the right to make medical decisions for your child. This includes the right to have hospitals provide you with medical records. While hospitals will freely share those records and that information with you initially, that process will slow to a trickle, and frequently stop, when the Child Protection Team gets involved.
Just as importantly, law enforcement and prosecutors are not obligated to share discovery or information connected to an investigation unless and until a person is formally charged with a crime. Your right to discovery is directly tied to your right to defend against formal charges or a formal accusation. Therefore, your right to access information about an investigation from a prosecutor or law enforcement does not actually begin until you are formally charged with a crime.
This can be very frustrating. These investigations take a lot of time. The complexity and breadth of a Medical Child Abuse allegation frequently covers several months, if not years. These cases can involve thousands, if not tens of thousands of pages of medical records. Because of that, these investigations take a long time. The parent who is being investigated is frequently kept in the dark about the process of that investigation during the lengthy period in which the investigation is ongoing.
How Does Your Firm Stay On Top Of These Matters To Make Sure Your Clients Are Not Railroaded?
When being investigated for Medical Child Abuse, the most important thing that a person can do is to get a lawyer who is a Medical Child Abuse expert involved as early as possible.
It is important to keep an indexed and organized copy of all relevant medical records for yourself and your lawyer’s office. This medical index should start with the OB/GYN records from the mother’s pregnancy, to the labor and delivery records relating to the birth of the child. It should include all medical records relating to the child during the child’s lifetime. This includes not only reports, but the actual film of any and all radiology, MRIs, CAT scans, and X-rays, in addition to the nurse’s notes for every hospital admission, and all of the various consults by the specialists and experts involved in any doctor visit or hospital admission. These documents need to be organized in order to be useful.
If there are 5000 pages of medical records, they must be OCR, Bates-stamped, and organized in sub-folders. If you do not know where everything is and cannot access it as soon as it is needed, the records become useless to your lawyer in trial.
It is also important to take steps to line up your own experts. You mustn’t wait for the trial to be scheduled to begin looking for an expert, regardless of their field of expertise. If you need an expert in infectious diseases, blood disorders, radiology, etc., then you need to find one as soon as possible. The breadth of the information that you must have organized to present to your experts will quickly exceed your capacity to reasonably handle it if you are not continuously working to stay on top of it.
This is especially important as hospitals begin to tighten the flow of information they will make available to you. If a hospital claims that they have been ordered by law enforcement to refrain from providing you with medical information, it is important to ensure that your lawyer begins filing documents such as subpoenas, demands, or court orders that will direct the hospital to turn those records over to you as soon as possible.
All these efforts are made in concert to keep pace with law enforcement and prosecutors as they acquire information and conduct their investigations. If you wait to try to digest 10,000 pages of medical records in a month, when the prosecution has been preparing the records for 12 months, you will find yourself at a terrible disadvantage, and in a position where you will never be able to catch up.
For more information on Discovery In A Medical Child Abuse Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 509-0056 today.