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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2006 Aug;24(3):619-31.

Ethical dilemmas in the care of minors in the emergency department.

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Department of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Minors may give consent for their own medical care in several situations: as emancipated minors, when they present with conditions covered by minor treatment statutes, and when they are designated as "mature" minors. Definitions vary from state to state. Minors are more likely to seek health care when they are assured of confidentiality. Confidentiality is breached only when it is determined that there is a threat to the life of the minor or another person. A psychosocial assessment should be performed as part of the emergency department evaluation of most adolescent minors. The emergency physician should help facilitate the involvement of a parent or other support person in the health issues of adolescent minors whenever possible, especially with younger adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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