I recently had an encounter in the er where a patient I was caring for was newly dx as pregnant and was an adolescent. The patient requested her mother not be informed of the test result and the Dr informed me that I was to honor the request it is the childs right to reproductive confidential treatment. I felt like I was withholding valuable information to the mother upon discharge. Has anyone else dealt with this and at what point does the mother have a right to know
Mar 3, '01
I believe that a pregnant teenager is now considered emancipated, and therefor able to make all their own decisions related to the pregnancy. Unless this is a child welfare issue (ie-is the teenager endangering her fetus) there is nothing we can do. I would want to know if my daughters were pregnant but unfortunately once a teenage girl gets pregnant she is considered an "adult" where her pregnancy is concerned. Ask your Social service department--they know all the laws/rights in your state.
Mar 7, '01
These are tough, but a dx of pregnancy *does not* emancipate a minor and, yes, the minor does get the right to have confidentiality around her pregnancy. However, I am hoping the ED doc did refer the child for care and perhaps there can be some support for helping her tell mom. Often family docs or peds can do this because they have that ground work relationship laid. Of course, a teen may elect termination and that can also be done without parental knowledge and consent.
If you are freaking and thinking but, "What if this was my little kid?" let me tell you that the key is to be an askable and "tellable" parent and that starts when kids are younger.
You know, people, I think that teens and premature sexuality are just a poor combination and nothing illustrates it more than this sad picture of a mother and a teen driving home from the ED with this huge secret between them. Pictures just like these contribute to why I am not doing clinical nursing and instead have chosen a job that makes it easy for me to be home with my kid evenings and nights. Somehow this mom hasn't been there for her kid; something has created a schism.
Mar 9, '01
Whether an adult or adolescent, the patient has a right to confidentiality regarding her pregnancy status and sexual history and health.
I dealt with this in the ER once. A mother brought her daughter in for a pregnancy test because she had just found out that the girl was sexually active. When it was explained to mom that not only could we not do a pregnacy test without the girls permission, but we also could not inform the girls mom of the results without the girls consent, she became very angry.
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