Grandparent's making medical decisions without parent's consent

by Lori
(St. Louis, Missouri)

My ex mother-in-law gave an emergency room consent & an out-of-network surgeon consent to do emergency surgery on my 15 year old son's finger (cut-off tip while lawn mowing). I could've gone to the hospital since I live 6 miles away to sign any & all documents needed. But I would not have used a surgeon not covered by my insurance since they are 17 surgeons within a 10 mile radius, covered by my insurance.

My ex mother-in-law contacted me afterwards so I had no input or knowledge of what happened or what she consented to at the time. Now the surgeon is asking me to pay the bill since the insurance is in my name & because my insurance did not cover anything since he is out of their network.

I pay the insurance premium every month on my son and my son chose to live with his father (in his grandparent's home) about 1 1/2 prior; but his dad is never around so his grandmother takes him to the doctor, dentist, & ER, without any written or court approved POA given by me or the father.

My ex mother-in-law puts all bills in my name so they come after me when they need to be paid... do I have any legal recourse towards her & the doctors, etc?? What should I do?

Reply from

Lori, in many cases parents can be held liable for necessary medical bills incurred for minor children. Unfortunately your situation is beyond our area of expertise. We recommend you submit your question to the Access Project at

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