If you would like a concrete example, consider parents of a healthy infant who was born premature and ill but is no longer in any apparent need of medical treatment. The hospital staff asks the parents to drive hours to get evaluations done, which the parents no longer want to submit to. Often the medical staff recommend unnecessary or dangerous procedures and treatments which are denied. If the parents simply deny the request to bring the infant child to these apparently unnecessary evaluations that would obviously deprive the hospital of money and not make friends of the staff.

Can the physicians declare the parents unfit with any legal backing?

  • 2
    Do you have a source for "Often the medical staff recommend unnecessary or dangerous procedures"? If so, please cite it. May 10, 2022 at 20:06
  • I don't understand how one would provide a citation for a hypothetical example.
    – bdb484
    May 10, 2022 at 21:26
  • In America medical staff routinely recommend circumcision, which is neither medically necessary nor medically useful, and is dangerous. That's one obvious example.
    – haleonj
    May 11, 2022 at 21:06

1 Answer 1



To declare that a parent is "unfit" in the US requires at least a decision by a government agency (often called "child protective services" or "child welfare" depending on the state) usually confirmed by a judge. Medical testimony may be persuasive, but neither doctors nor hospitals may make such determinations.

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