Handle emergencies collaboratively. Tell the other parent when you’re at the hospital with your child!
By Shaun Armstrong
Worse case scenario: Your daughter is rushed to the hospital following a serious accident or a deteriorating illness. Doctors say she will need surgery. Medical emergencies like these can be stressful for any family, but they are particularly stressful in a family with shared custody. It is important that the parent with physical custody at the time of the emergency fully and clearly understands the extent of the injury or medical condition. Equally as important is that this information is shared as soon as possible with the non-custodial parent.
If there are any decisions that need to be made of a non-emergent nature regarding your child’s medical care, both the custodial and non-custodial parent should partake in the decision-making process.
The name and contact information of all doctors, hospitals, and other health care facilities providing treatment for your child should be shared freely and equally by both parents. If an extended hospital stay is required, both parents should have the authority to call the hospital and obtain any relevant information regarding their child’s health and treatment.
In addition, both parents should be fully informed of any changes in routine or special restrictions in diet or activity that may be imposed following a medical procedure or hospital stay. For instance, if a child newly diagnosed with diabetes now needs to have a low-sugar diet with carbohydrate counting to control blood glucose level, both parents should be involved in the teaching process regarding dietary and lifestyle changes.
Keeping open lines of communication between both parents during times of medical crises is vital not only to ensure the wellbeing of the child, but also to exhibit good faith and civil interactions with the other parent with an eye towards providing an environment that meets the best interests of your child.