Jennifer Derksen

What constitutes 'reasonable grounds' to disagree with parents these days can be cause for concern. The Advice to the Profession Re: Informed Consent for Minors makes the point. They state, "The guardian’s decision must always be in the best interests of the child." Depending on the physician, this could be extrapolated to mean that disagreeing with their sacrosanct medical opinion is not an option. Who gets to decide? The definition of 'reasonable understanding' that is alluded to in number 5 (d), and the 'capacity assessment process' in number 6, are areas where reasonable latitude can be exploited and may vary, depending on many factors, including the physician or surgeon's worldview. What should the consent of parents look like in these standards? When I trained as a Nurse these matters were black and white. Mature minor consent could only be acceptable in matters of life of death, where the patient would die without intervention. Now it seems to be expanding to whatever the healthcare system wants it to. This is alarming! Parental consent and parental rights need to be safeguarded. They know their child best and they are the ones who will deal with the long term consequences (and expenses) of their child’s actions. The government and public institutions cannot and must not usurp this authority!

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