Should a Physician Comply with a Parent's Demands for a Forensic Exam on a 16-Year-Old Trauma Patient?
AMA Journal of Ethics, January 2018
Physicians must remain vigilant about their ethical duties to patients, especially in high-stakes situations. The question raised by this case-whether a physician should comply with a parent's demand for treatment against her underage child's wishes-is not one of life or death in which a guardian might more credibly argue her judgment should stand. Given that forcing a rape kit exam on a patient who refuses to give assent could be further traumatizing, we argue that the physician should not comply. Deciding upon a course of action in this situation will involve considering what is in the patient's best interest and what constitutes a physician's appropriate role in gathering evidence for criminal investigations.
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