Health Care Decision making by children.

  1. I am a nursing student. I was wondering what people feel on giving 16 and 17 year
    olds almost complete control over their health care. If a 16 or 17 year old is brought into the emergency room and the parents and the child disagree on treatment who should get the final say? Should a
    third party be brought in to try to resolve
    the disagreement. As a nursing student I feel that a 16 or 17 year should have a lot
    of say in their health care. A 17 year old
    is one year away from going to college and
    making decisions all by themselves. I do not
    believe a third party should be brought in to
    try to solve the disagreement because this
    I feel will break up the family.
  2. Visit jen profile page

    About jen

    Joined: Nov '98; Posts: 2
    Nursing Student


  3. by   CHUBBY
    There are several issues to address here:
    Most states require parental consent for treatment unless the "minor" is emancipated. If its a 16 or 17 yr. old..( or younger and their condition is life threatening you can treat using implied consent (thats what nursing administration on-call is for anyway).
    I imagine that most parents would want to know whats going on (after all, in most instances they pay for the health insurance)
    the gray issues are sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, etc. There, you are getting more into "patient confidentiality" as opposed to mom and dad vs. the kid.
    So this can be a real ethical dilemma. Heres an interesting, bizarre, legal issue (true story). A 13 year old female comes to the ER complaining od abdominal pain with her mom and stuffed animal, she is 2 months pregnant. The child, because she is pregnant, is allowed to sign for treatment. The mom wants her to have an abortion. The girl wants to have the baby. She winds up having the abortion. Weeks later, she returns to the ER for an unrelated problem- Her mother has to sign for treatment, she cant, because she is no longer pregnant...