UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Adolescent Consent

Keywords: Adolescent Consent, EMTALA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/16/2010 by Reginald Brown, MD (Updated: 5/7/2010)
Click here to contact Reginald Brown, MD

EMTALA stipulates that any patient presenting to the Emergency Department is required to receive a medical screening exam regardless of age, ability to pay, or whether or not a parent accompanies the child.

EMTALA supersedes any state/local provisions or laws.

In performing a medical screening exam if an emergency medical condition exists then diagnostic testing, surgery or even transfer of hospitals may be appropriate without ever obtaining parental consent

MInors have the right to give or refuse informed assent of a procedure

If their is conflict between physician, parent or patient in the rendering of emergent care the physician must weigh the severity of the condition, risks and benefits of the treatment, as well as the patients maturity and cognition.  The physician may have to seek ethical committee review, or assistance from either social services or the court system.

If an emergent condition does not exist, EMTALA does not apply after the MSE.



Consent for Emergency Medical Services for Children and Adolescnets: Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics VOL 111 No.3 March 20003, pp703-706 reaffirmed 2007.

Levine, S.  Adolescent Consent and Confidentiality.  Pediatrics in Review. Vol 30 No. 11 pp 457-8.  Nov 2009.