Just Don’t Do It! – Don’t Delay Getting a Child Medical Care! ©

I have been practicing law for many years in Metropolitan Atlanta and have come to learn of people who have gotten arrested for violating the state and federal laws in a number of ways.  Many crimes are committed by persons who are intending on doing wrong.  Then there are some who just don’t know the law and make a wrong decision that could lead to their arrest.  Sadly the consequences of an arrest and conviction could affect you for the rest of your life. This week, I give you my interpretation of another law of our state and how it is enforced. If it’s a violation of a law then my advice is simple, Just Don’t Do It!

Children are injured everyday from a variety of causes.  When a child in your care has been seriously injured, your intentional and unjustified delay in getting him necessary medical attention may cause the child to suffer from cruel and excessive physical pain unnecessarily.  Your actions could warrant a charge for cruelty to children.    Imagine a child in your care is mistakenly placed in scolding hot bath water.  The child starts to scream and you immediately remove him from the hot water.  It is obvious that the child has suffered serious burns to his legs and buttocks.  You are afraid to take the child for medical care thinking that you would get in trouble if the hospital personnel report you to the police.  Your refusal to take the child to get medical attention will only make things worse.  The child continues to suffer while you decide what to do. The mother of the child comes home from work and you prevent her from taking the child to get medical treatment until two (2) days later. The child suffered from second and third degree burns on his legs and buttocks.  A person commits the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree when such person maliciously causes a child cruel and excessive physical or mental pain.  Malice can be shown by intentionally and unjustifiably delaying necessary medical attention for a child, as that delay may cause the child to suffer from cruel and excessive physical pain.  Preventing the mother from taking the child to get medical attention makes matters worse.  Imagine in this scenario that you did all that you could have reasonable done to prevent the child from getting into the hot water.  Had you taken the child to get immediate medical care, it is possible that no charges will be brought against you for cruelty to a child.  The question then is whether your failure to act in preventing the child from entering the hot water demonstrates a willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the safety of others who might reasonably be expected to be injured by your inaction. The law requires you to act reasonably when you are responsible for caring for a child under 18 years-old.  Under no circumstances should you delay in getting a child medical attention if they have been injured.  A responsible adult would not let anything prevent them from getting an injured child the medical care that they need.  People understand that accidents happen, but intentionally refusing to take action is never tolerated.    Do not compound the problem.  It is possible that your first mistake in not preventing the accident from occurring could be excused, but failing to get a child needed medical care will surely get you arrested.  JUST DON’T DO IT!

Attorney Emerson Carey, Jr. has been a trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia for over 22 years. He is an adjunct professor at Emory University School of law where he teaches trial advocacy. Attorney Carey can be reached at 404-635-1112, 1-877-635-1112, and ecarey@careydobson.com.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Every criminal prosecution is based on its individual facts and requires an independent evaluation by a licensed, experienced attorney.