Child Medical Consent

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Why is a child medical consent form needed?

Because no one is usually better suited than adults themselves to appreciate what a diagnosis and treatment means for their lives, patients should ordinarily be respected as “experts” about the medical treatment that is desirable to them. Respecting patients as the central decision-maker also protects against paternalism, the view that health care practitioners should make decisions they believe to be in patients’ best interests.

In most respects, the law converges with ethics in making it inadvisable for physicians to impose tests and treatments on patients without their knowledge or consent. In the United States, the law will treat medical treatment imposed without consent as a tort (a wrongful action). In response to a charge of unwanted treatment, Justice Benjamin Cardozo offered a classic legal opinion in the 1914 case Schloendorff v. Society of N.Y. Hospital: “every human being of adult years has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent commits an assault for which he is liable in damages.” Subsequent cases have underscored this right to accept or refuse treatment and underlined rights to self-determination and the right to be left alone – even if choices seem poorly made to others.

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Informed consent is therefore both a theory and a practice of patient involvement in health care. Its theory rests on well-established ethical and legal views in the United States. In practice, informed consent means providing information that enables someone to make a meaningful decision about the desirability of a medical test or treatment, as measured in terms of its risks and benefits.

We have forms for child medical consent available for immediate download at the links available here.

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