Medical Informed Consent > Minors > Refusal of Treatment of Minors

Refusal of Treatment of Minors

Parents are generally recognized as having the right to refuse treatment of their children of whom they have legal custody. The parents judgment in making such decisions will most often be respected by the courts as being in the best position to judge the best interests of the child. If an interested party, including the minor patient's physician, believes the parent is not motivated by acting in the best interest of the child, then you may seek a court order that the requested medical care be provided to the child. Only a court may decide that the parent's are not acting in the best interest of the child and order that the parent's wishes to refuse care be overridden and enter a court order that a specified medical care by provided.

In the case of a minor with an emergent medical condition when time does not allow the physician to seek a court order to provide the care over the parent's objection, if the physician decides to ignore the parent's wishes and provide care over parental objection, the physician may be sued by the parents for providing medical care without consent. In order for the case not to proceed against the physician, the court must find that the parents were not acting in the child's best interests and recognize the medical emergency and find that the court would have ordered the medical care that was in fact rendered by the physician. If the court does not make such a finding, the claim against the physician for providing care without consent may proceed.


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