State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_7B > GS_7B-308

§ 7B‑308.  Authority ofmedical professionals in abuse cases.

(a)        Any physician oradministrator of a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility to which asuspected abused juvenile is brought for medical diagnosis or treatment shallhave the right, when authorized by the chief district court judge of thedistrict or the judge's designee, to retain physical custody of the juvenile inthe facility when the physician who examines the juvenile certifies in writingthat the juvenile who is suspected of being abused should remain for medicaltreatment or that, according to the juvenile's medical evaluation, it is unsafefor the juvenile to return to the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, orcaretaker. This written certification must be signed by the certifyingphysician and must include the time and date that the judicial authority toretain custody is given. Copies of the written certification must be appendedto the juvenile's medical and judicial records and another copy must be givento the juvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker. The right toretain custody in the facility shall exist for up to 12 hours from the time anddate contained in the written certification.

(b)        Immediately uponreceipt of judicial authority to retain custody, the physician, theadministrator, or that person's designee shall so notify the director of socialservices for the county in which the facility is located. The director shalltreat this notification as a report of suspected abuse and shall immediatelybegin an assessment of the case.

(1)        If the assessmentreveals (i) that it is the opinion of the certifying physician that thejuvenile is in need of medical treatment to cure or alleviate physical distressor to prevent the juvenile from suffering serious physical injury, and (ii)that it is the opinion of the physician that the juvenile should for thesereasons remain in the custody of the facility for 12 hours, but (iii) that thejuvenile's parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker cannot be reached or, uponrequest, will not consent to the treatment within the facility, the directorshall within the initial 12‑hour period file a juvenile petition allegingabuse and setting forth supporting allegations and shall seek a nonsecurecustody order. A petition filed and a nonsecure custody order obtained inaccordance with this subdivision shall come on for hearing under the regularprovisions of this Subchapter unless the director and the certifying physiciantogether voluntarily dismiss the petition.

(2)        In all cases exceptthose described in subdivision (1) above, the director shall conduct theassessment and may initiate juvenile proceedings and take all other stepsauthorized by the regular provisions of this Subchapter. If the directordecides not to file a petition, the physician, the administrator, or thatperson's designee may ask the prosecutor to review this decision according tothe provisions of G.S. 7B‑305 and G.S. 7B‑306.

(c)        If, upon hearing,the court determines that the juvenile is found in a county other than thecounty of legal residence, in accord with G.S. 153A‑257, the juvenile maybe transferred, in accord with G.S. 7B‑903(2), to the custody of thedepartment of social services in the county of residence.

(d)        If the court, uponinquiry, determines that the medical treatment rendered was necessary andappropriate, the cost of that treatment may be charged to the parents,guardian, custodian, or caretaker, or, if the parents are unable to pay, to thecounty of residence in accordance with G.S. 7B‑903 and G.S. 7B‑904.

(e)        Except as otherwiseprovided, a petition begun under this section shall proceed in like manner withpetitions begun under G.S. 7B‑302.

(f)         The procedures inthis section are in addition to, and not in derogation of, the abuse andneglect reporting provisions of G.S. 7B‑301 and the temporary custodyprovisions of G.S. 7B‑500. Nothing in this section shall preclude aphysician or administrator and a director of social services from following theprocedures of G.S. 7B‑301 and G.S. 7B‑500 whenever these proceduresare more appropriate to the juvenile's circumstances. (1979, c. 815, s. 1; 1981, c.716, s. 2; 1995, c. 255, s. 1; 1998‑202, s. 6; 1999‑456, s. 60;2005‑55, s. 8.)