Medical consent at issue for ailing foster children

In the wake of the June death of a 7-month-old foster girl in deteriorating health, the Clark County Department of Family Services’ medical consent practices are being reviewed.

The agency is required to get parental consent for medical procedures involving general anesthesia or other sedation needed by children in custody.

If the biological parents can’t be found, the agency can request a court order for treatment instead, said Brigid Duffy, chief deputy district attorney for the juvenile division of the Clark County prosecutor’s office.

It’s important for the public to understand the “big picture of where we are in trying to get help for kids who need help,” Duffy said. “I don’t want to say that parents’ rights are an obstacle, but it creates something we have to consider before we can get an end result.”

The issue of medical consent garnered attention in July after the 7-month-old’s grieving foster mother implored state lawmakers to review Clark County’s procedures.

Sheila Smith said the baby’s life might have been saved by earlier treatment.

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