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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 383
MATERNAL AND INFANT HEALTH CARE
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F.S. 383.50
383.50 Treatment of surrendered newborn infant.
(1) As used in this section, the term “newborn infant” means a child who a licensed physician reasonably believes is approximately 7 days old or younger at the time the child is left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station.
(2) There is a presumption that the parent who leaves the newborn infant in accordance with this section intended to leave the newborn infant and consented to termination of parental rights.
(3) Each emergency medical services station or fire station staffed with full-time firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics shall accept any newborn infant left with a firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic. The firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic shall consider these actions as implied consent to and shall:
(a) Provide emergency medical services to the newborn infant to the extent he or she is trained to provide those services, and
(b) Arrange for the immediate transportation of the newborn infant to the nearest hospital having emergency services.

A licensee as defined in s. 401.23, a fire department, or an employee or agent of a licensee or fire department may treat and transport a newborn infant pursuant to this section. If a newborn infant is placed in the physical custody of an employee or agent of a licensee or fire department, such placement shall be considered implied consent for treatment and transport. A licensee, a fire department, or an employee or agent of a licensee or fire department is immune from criminal or civil liability for acting in good faith pursuant to this section. Nothing in this subsection limits liability for negligence.

(4) Each hospital of this state subject to s. 395.1041 shall, and any other hospital may, admit and provide all necessary emergency services and care, as defined in s. 395.002(9), to any newborn infant left with the hospital in accordance with this section. The hospital or any of its licensed health care professionals shall consider these actions as implied consent for treatment, and a hospital accepting physical custody of a newborn infant has implied consent to perform all necessary emergency services and care. The hospital or any of its licensed health care professionals is immune from criminal or civil liability for acting in good faith in accordance with this section. Nothing in this subsection limits liability for negligence.
(5) Except when there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, any parent who leaves a newborn infant with a firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic at a fire station or emergency medical services station, or brings a newborn infant to an emergency room of a hospital and expresses an intent to leave the newborn infant and not return, has the absolute right to remain anonymous and to leave at any time and may not be pursued or followed unless the parent seeks to reclaim the newborn infant. When an infant is born in a hospital and the mother expresses intent to leave the infant and not return, upon the mother’s request, the hospital or registrar shall complete the infant’s birth certificate without naming the mother thereon.
(6) A parent of a newborn infant left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station under this section may claim his or her newborn infant up until the court enters a judgment terminating his or her parental rights. A claim to the newborn infant must be made to the entity having physical or legal custody of the newborn infant or to the circuit court before whom proceedings involving the newborn infant are pending.
(7) Upon admitting a newborn infant under this section, the hospital shall immediately contact a local licensed child-placing agency or alternatively contact the statewide central abuse hotline for the name of a licensed child-placing agency for purposes of transferring physical custody of the newborn infant. The hospital shall notify the licensed child-placing agency that a newborn infant has been left with the hospital and approximately when the licensed child-placing agency can take physical custody of the child. In cases where there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, the hospital or any of its licensed health care professionals shall report the actual or suspected child abuse or neglect in accordance with ss. 39.201 and 395.1023 in lieu of contacting a licensed child-placing agency.
(8) Any newborn infant admitted to a hospital in accordance with this section is presumed eligible for coverage under Medicaid, subject to federal rules.
(9) A newborn infant left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with this section shall not be deemed abandoned and subject to reporting and investigation requirements under s. 39.201 unless there is actual or suspected child abuse or until the department takes physical custody of the child.
(10) A criminal investigation shall not be initiated solely because a newborn infant is left at a hospital under this section unless there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect.
History.s. 1, ch. 2000-188; s. 15, ch. 2001-53; s. 23, ch. 2001-62; s. 13, ch. 2007-230; s. 4, ch. 2008-90.