News In Brief

US 'Baby Janes Doe' rules are fought in AMA lawsuit

Six professional societies, led by the American Medical Association, filed suit Monday in US District Court to bar Reagan administration attempts to oversee the care doctors and hospitals give infants diagnosed as severely handicapped.

The suit claims Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler did not have authority to issue the new so-called ''Baby Jane Doe'' regulations, which went into effect last month, and that the new rules violate parents' rights of privacy.

The complaint said the regulations involve ''federal investigations . . . into one of the most sensitive, complex, and personal areas in which parents must make decisions about their infant children in consultation with physicians. . . .''

The new regulations require hospitals to list phone numbers where staff who believe infants are victims of discrimination can report their suspicions. The new rules also authorize the federal agency to investigate hospital actions, inspect medical records, and determine whether the care given such babies is appropriate.

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