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Jul 26 2011

American Academy of Pediatrics Releases New Emergency Pediatric Consent Guidelines

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provide new guidelines for those situations when parental consent is not readily available, unnecessary, or when a parental refusal of consent could harm the child. The recommendations, entitled “Consent for Emergency Medical Services for Children and Adolescents,” provide an update to previous statements published by the AAP in 1993 and 2003.

The AAP provides recommendations for a number of contexts including: unaccompanied minors, emancipated minors, minors who present with someone who is not authorized to provide consent, refusals of consent, language barriers, confidentiality, prehospital consent, consent during a disaster, and consent for research in the emergency setting.

The AAP outlines EMTALA obligations, parental duties, and exceptions that allow parties other than legal guardians to provide consent. The AAP recommends that all minors who present to an emergency services provider should receive an initial medical screening examination regardless of presence of a legally authorize decision-maker who can provide consent.

The AAP’s full policy statement is available here or in the August issue of Pediatrics.