Do you have a policy in place if you encounter a minor who requests medical treatment? Usually minors are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, but in the rare instance that an unaccompanied child under the age of eighteen seeks treatment, are you prepared to address the issue of whether the minor can consent for himself or herself?
Generally, minors must have the consent of a parent or guardian before receiving medical care. However, there are several exceptions to this general rule. Emancipated minors and “mature minors” can give consent, and there are also certain statutory exceptions.
By statute, a minor may consent to the following services without parental consent:
- Physical examination of a minor who is a victim of a sexual offense at a hospital with organized emergency services, with written notification to the parent or guardian that such examination has taken place (ORC §2907.29);
- HIV testing (ORC §3701.242);
- Diagnosis/treatment of any venereal disease by a licensed physician (OR §3709.241);
- Outpatient mental health services (excluding the use of medication) at the request of a minor fourteen years of age or older (ORC §5122.04) ;
- Diagnosis/treatment for substance abuse of any condition which is reasonable to believe is caused by a drug of abuse, beer, or intoxicating liquor (ORC §3719.012); and
- An abortion by a court order authorizing the minor to consent (ORC §2919.121, 2151.85).
A minor may also receive emergency medical treatment to preserve life and prevent serious impairment without the consent of a parent or guardian. For services a) – e) above, the minor’s parent or guardian is not liable for the cost of the services.
It is important to know the state of the law regarding when minors can consent to medical treatment. If you ever encounter a minor seeking treatment, make sure that you can distinguish whether the minor can consent.
Source: Lexology – Brouse McDowell – Laura F. Fryan