Health Law

Pregnant Woman's Forced Bed Rest Order Reversed


A Florida appeals court has ruled 2-1 that a Tallahassee judge was wrong to forcibly hospitalize a pregnant woman.

The 1st District Court of Appeal held that the ruling violated Samantha Burton’s right to refuse medical treatment, the Associated Press reports.

Writing for the majority(PDF), District Judge Clark Nikki Ann opined that, “The law in Florida is clear: Every person has the right ‘to be let alone and free from government intrusion into the person’s private life.’”

The dissenting judge agreed with the majority’s reasoning, but thought the case should have been dismissed as moot because the baby was delivered stillborn two days after the judge’s ordered hospitalization.

The judge’s order was issued after Burton’s doctor argued she risked miscarriage if she didn’t stop smoking and stay on bed rest.

Burton had initially gone to the hospital on her own fearing she was having complications. But when she didn’t like the care she was getting, she wanted to go to another hospital or return home to take care of her children. The local state attorney intervened after being contacted by the hospital.

Also see:

ABAJournal.com: “Pregnant Pro Se Mom Argued Treatment Case from Hospital Bed & Lost; Will Lawyer Win Appeal?”

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