Medical Informed Consent > Minors > Consenting as Adults

Consenting as Adults

It is unacceptable to consent a minor for the purpose of medical or surgical care. A physician must obtain consent from the custodial parents or the person responsible for the minor. Exceptions do exist to this rule, and involve the following: minors treated as adults, emancipated minors, mature minors, married minors, minors who are parents and minors in military service. Special considerations also exist regarding the treatment of minors.

By Virginia Statute, minors may consent as adults for diagnosis/treatment of venereal disease; birth control, pregnancy or family planning (NOT including sterilization); outpatient treatment for substance abuse or outpatient treatment for mental illness.This is true in Virginia, but not in many other states.

If a child has been recognized by court order as emancipated, then they are to be considered an adult for any purpose, including the consent for medical / surgical care. In Virginia, a minor MUST have a court order to be emancipated. In most other states, you may rely on general information to determinate if a minor is emancipated and therefore may consent on his or her own.

Children over the age of 14 or 15 may be considered a mature minor and be given the right to consent to medical / surgical care. While this is true in many states, it is not yet recognized in Virginia.

A married minor is an adult, except for sterilization, for which consent will depend on the age of the minor and in many states will require a court order.

If a minor is a parent, then that minor may consent for the child except in cases where child custody has been awarded to another. This minor, though, still may not consent for themselves unless they fulfill another of the exceptions.In most states, minor parents cannot consent as adults just because they are a parent, but rather must meet some other grounds for consenting as an adult such as being married.

A minor on active duty in the military is treated as an adult.


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