Ethics Hero: The Staff and Administrators of Summerlin Hospital (Las Vegas)


Lincoln and Cecilia Rogers wanted to treat their newborn's illness their own way...

The angry parents of a newborn have sparked protests against Summerlin Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada, by revealing that their baby was kept at the hospital against their will after a nurse contacted social services for what they describe as an “unjustified reason.”


The “unjustified reason” was that Lincoln and Cecilia Rogers wanted to take baby Lilia home and treat her jaundice “the natural way,” according to her mother. Whenever hospital staff hears a parent say that the family wants to eschew hospital treatment of a child’s serious health problem “the natural way’—or, for that matter, “the supernatural way”, as in “we’re going to put it in God’s hands,” a child’s life is in danger. This is the time for a hospital to stop thinking about legal issues (“Make sure they sign a waiver and consent form!”) or public controversy, and to think about the endangered welfare of the child.

Summerlin’s staff did the responsible, caring and right thing, not that they are getting much credit for it. News reports have been critical of the unidentified nurse who called social services when Lilia’s mother rejected the hospital’s recommendation that it keep the baby over-night.

“It took one nurse to make one horrible decision and a domino effect to happen like that,” said Lincoln Rogers. “It’s just been so unfortunate.”

In truth, it was Summerlin Hospital that kept the Rogers from making a horrible decision. The scenario was reminiscent of another recent case where a hospital intervened to stop a parent’ s “natural treatment.” In February, a judge sided with  doctors and child services to refuse  to let the parents of a hospitalized Delaware high school wrestler treat his spinal injuries “naturally” at home with herbs and spices, a.k.a. “alternative medicine”, as they had insisted. Instead,  he was given  court-ordered spinal surgery.

The young wrestler is now likely to make a full,  if “unnatural” recovery,  and baby Lila is at home with her parents, healthy. Protesters supporting the Rogers’ right to risk their child’s life are misguided, and some day, maybe Lila Rogers will tell them so. Parents have the right to raise their children as they choose, but they do not have the right to abuse them, neglect them, or risk their lives or health through well-meaning ignorance and stubbornness.  Lincoln and Cecilia Rogers are very lucky, in these litigious, cautious, cowardly times, that their daughter was in a hospital that cared more about her than they did about public relations.


15 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: The Staff and Administrators of Summerlin Hospital (Las Vegas)

  1. One physician wants the baby to stay in the hospital an extra night. The parents request a second opinion. After the second doctor concluded the baby could go home, the nurse called Social Services. The parents were told they needed to sign a release.

    Two doctors, two opinions, one gutsy nurse. Hero status? I’m sitting on the fence.

    • Don’t do it: it’s pointy up there.

      This is easy: two opinions—1) the baby isn’t out of the wooods, keep her here overnight. 2) The baby probably should stay here to be on the safe side, but if you’ll release us from all liability, go ahead,,,chance it.

      The second doctor was an ethics dunce (though pretty typical.) I’d have called social services after that “opinion” too.

      You know, my mom died in February because the hospital sent her home with an infection prematurely, saying it could be controlled with home medication. Two doctors disagreed, in fact—the hospital sided with the one whose recommendation was cheapest for them. I wish that nurse, whoever she is, has worked for the Arlington Hospital Center. I might still have my Mom.

  2. All hospitals are doing the cheapest thing, denying and releasing patients with deadly infections like MRSA, etc., because they want their mortality rates low. Summerlin should have let the Rogers sign a release and take their baby home: then if the baby died it wouldn’t have been THEIR fault. Win-win, right? Except for the poor infant.

  3. If it was newborn jaundice, frequent breastfeeding and time outside in the sun will take care of it in most cases. If the parents wanted to do this, perhaps some reading material on the subject for the staff would have been a good idea. The treatment in the hospital is fluids and time under lights.

  4. Elizabeth,
    You know, I hear that extreme cynicism increases the likelihood of early onset crows feet and other fine age lines.

    Would you consider it unethical to deny health care for religious reasons (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, etc)? If so, should it be ILLEGAL? If so, where is the line drawn? If not, same question?


    • Good and hard question, as you know. Still, I believe that religious beliefs that kill people should not provide a defense. I’m pretty close to TGT on this one. Your right to your religion stops at the point that it starts harming people other than you.

  5. Wow,
    since ‘all you people’ are so medically on it,..
    let’s round up all those smokers… imprisonment until they quit!!
    ( Additional fines and taxes for the damage created by second hand smoke.)
    While we’re at it,… fat people, yup, you’re next… can’t control your eating, in the hospital you go! ( Death because of obesity, and all related diseases..tsk, tsk. )

    Freedom to seek a different medical opinion? Not any more! Too expensive, the National Government Health Control, er, I mean, PPO will make all those pesky decisions for you.

    Now, get back to work, and take your little pill.

    PS Jaundice is USUALLY AND COMMONLY treated at home, with breastfeeding and sunlight.. oh wait, breastfeeding is perverted and illegal… and sunlight causes skin cancer. Well hell’s bells, slather that baby in sunblock, and shove a feeding tube down it’s throat.. F*$#^@ Western Medicine!! Oh, and the ‘establishment NEVER lies or operates for profit.
    Seriously, “CALLED CPS AND THE POLICE?!?!” This seems normal to you?

    • First part of rant: Irrelevant and misleading. This is all behavior done by adults on their own responsibility. (Do you think a parent should be allowed to have her infant smoke?)

      Second part of rant: Disingenuous. Obviously the hospital wanted to keep the child a little longer to see if the jaundice was an indication of something more serious. The nurse felt strongly enough about it that she took action on the baby’s behalf. Worst case of the the nurse is wrong: the baby gets home a day late. Worst case if the parents are wrong? Dead baby. If that’s not an easy call for you, I don’t know what would be.

    • Is Jenna truly THAT clueless? Smokers and other such adult losers are doing what they are doing with INFORMED CONSENT. Those adult losers who reject sound medical advice and decide to treat THEMSELVES by reading bird entrails and making offerings to the god Hoop-de-doo are doing so with INFORMED CONSENT.

      How does one get INFORMED CONSENT from an infant? One does not.

      Oops…dead baby. Oh, well…

  6. Hey Jack,

    How can the hospital allow the parents to take the child home in an automobile? We’re looking at over 30,000 deaths this year alone by auto accidents. What a killer. The hospital is liable for allowing such a travesty. Forget parents rights. The state knows what is best.

  7. After having my baby there I think this hospital needs a serious overhaul. Breastfeeding is best and they made it almost impossible. My baby was c-section and they wouldn’t let him out of nicu even after telling me he was fine and healthy and they didn’t understand why he was still in there (he was a bit cold, but they wouldn’t just let let me hold him skin to skin and warm him up). The way they pushed formula and tried to keep me from feeding him was unethical. They even fed him before feeding time so he wouldn’t nurse. It is disgusting to hear the words ethical heroes connected to these type of people.

  8. Perhaps those of you on here do not release registered nurses are mandated reporters. A nurse has medical knowledge, but does not make medical decisions. When a parent chooses to remove their child from the hospital against the medical advice of a doctor, it is a mandatory state reportable action. The nurse rendered no judgement against the parents and or their specific beliefs, she simply complied with a statute that is in place to protect the child. That nurse does not remove a child or judge anyone, she is simply a reporter of fact and potential harm to a child. Look up the laws. Should that infant die at home or have disability related to high jaundice levels, it would not only be on her conscience, but she could potentially lose her lisence to practice nursing in the state of Nevada or even face criminal charges. It is more than just due diligance.I am a nurse and have had to make that dreaded call to social services, the whole time knowing the parents had no malice or ill intent, but complied with regulations set in place to protect children. I have also been on the other end of the report to social services. When my daughter fractured her collarbone and we took her to the emergency room, the physician contacted social services to investigate my family. since a broken bone in a child of 18mths is not common.I understood his madate to do this and was happy to have the department of family services come and check out my home.Because I know that for all the reports they investigate and are benign, there is that one child who slips through the cracks. I have personally seen children with severe jaundice taken home by parents return to my intensive care and die from complications that ensued following high jaundice levels. I respect all peoples right to practice non-western medicine and adjunctive homeopathic modalities. But that call didnt judge the parents choice of freedom, it was advocacy for that couples child and compliance with the law.
    I am saddened to hear the judgements on the site about the nurses character. It was the nurses job and the law on mandatory reporting. No action taken to harm the child, only assure, that more qualified parites were aware and could make a decision. If you lived out of state and had an elderly parent who couldnt speak for herself, this nurse would be the one you could only wish was caring for them, advocating for their needs and assuring safety on discharge.
    Lets be kind to one another and see it was a decision of love and patient advocacy/

  9. Summerln. Has a problem with color i as a woman of color have seen this time after time.and that’s why I don’t go you all are in business saving lives a shame that I feel that if I as a black woman go to summerlin hospital my life will be that important to i choose to be alive so don’t go to summerlin hospital if you are any other color then white.

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