Forum: Arts / Debates

Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 09:04 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-08-17 21:10:04

We all know that a child can't consent to things like surgery, transplants, blood transfusions flu shots, abortions, and other procedures. I think there are some cases where a medical professional CAN take over for life threatening situation and those medical professionals on DDN can probably answer which select cases those are.

Do you feel that the consent for medical procedure should be the responsibility of the parent or medical professionals?

Lets imagine a scenario where a 16 year old child needs a certain medical procedure, but it isn't exactly life threatening. The child wants to get it done, the parents refuse to give consent, but the doctors are strongly recommending that he gets it done now, to minimize risks as he becomes an adult.

Another scenario is that a baby was delievered at home, the parents bring the child to the hospital because he has a fever but they refuse to let doctors run a workup due to religious issues. Should the hospital intervine and override the lack of consent?

Should parents have TOTAL control of consent, only in non emergency situations, or should children over a certain age have a say in what they want medically done.

14 Replies to Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?

re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By Wicked_Elphabamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 09:08 PM
Why don't the parents want it done?

If it's in the child's best interest, CPS can be called and the parents charged with neglect.

I guess it depends on the procedure and why it needs to be done for me.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 09:11 PM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-08-17 21:13:46
^Lets say the parents are a Jehovah's Witness and they don't consent to a blood transfusion for a child due to religious reasons? The parents have the best interest of the child at heart, because they feel that the child won't be able to go to heaven if they get that blood transfusion. It isn't for a lack of caring nor are they neglectful in the traditional term.
Should the doctors step in now?

I feel that there is such a grey area on what an "emergency" can mean. How about a 13 year old needing an abortion. Should parents need to consent, or should the child be able to have consent then? I believe in most states, a judge can override some things...but should she be able to consent without having to go to a court of law?
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children? (karma: 1)
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 09:40 PM
YumYumDoughnut wrote:

^Lets say the parents are a Jehovah's Witness and they don't consent to a blood transfusion for a child due to religious reasons?
We call the ethics committee and, if the child needs it - as in REALLY needs it - we can give it with two MDs signing off, regardless of the parents' consent or lack thereof.

How about a 13 year old needing an abortion. Should parents need to consent, or should the child be able to have consent then?
Parents don't have to consent for mental health or reproductive issues, at least in my state.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children? (karma: 1)
By schuhplattlerPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 09:49 PM
^I have heard of cases where the parents are Jehovah's witnesses and the child needs blood. The solution was to first make the child a ward of the court.

But what would be done if there was not time for such a legal procedure?

I think that nearly all of us would want the doctor to have such authority in this case, but I don't know what the law actually is.

If I had my way, freedom of religion would extend even to prohibiting parents from foisting such given names as "Christian" or "Yehudi" or "Islam" onto a child.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By ChristinePremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:19 PM
schuhplattler wrote:


If I had my way, freedom of religion would extend even to prohibiting parents from foisting such given names as "Christian" or "Yehudi" or "Islam" onto a child.


Interestingly, a recent decision reflected this same sentiment, abcnews.go.com . . .

Sadly, people give their kids hideous names all the time. Where do we draw the line? My name is Christine. Is Christian so far off the mark? How many Mohammads do we know of? Zillions. I had a kid in a kindergarten class 30 years ago whose name was Thor. The 70's gave us a ton of interesting names. Sunshine, Love, Precious Gift... all kinds of Woodstock inspired monikers. Chastity Bono, anyone? (now "Chas") But fairly...what makes Chastity odd when names like Grace, Faith, and Prudence are acceptable?

Parenting is such a hard job. It is unlikely that any of us do it without making a few big mistakes. Giving a child a name shouldn't be one of them.

Although I do agree that it is a very important task with life long consequences for the child, I don't want the government involved in this either. Most governments do such a marginal job at the things they need to address I don't want them distracted by this kind of stuff. I suspect the decision on the Messiah/Martin child will be overturned.

YYD... sorry to hijack your post but Milt made a very interesting suggestion and I had to add my thoughts.

*hijack over* with my sincerest apologies.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:32 PM
In the case of JW's they would probably first go to a hospital that does 'bloodless' surgery, of which there are quite a few, at least a dozen in my area of SoCal. A student of mine is JW and she recently underwent bloodless surgery as a minor (age 17) and the medical staff did not have an issue with the parents. (Though the surgery was not an emergent situation so I don't know if that would have changed things, but it was considered urgent.)
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 18, 2013 07:43 AM
I was just reading about some little girl that had pneumonia, or something completely cure able, and her parents had some oddball belief that wouldn't let them get her medical attention, and she died.

Personally, I have enough faith in Western medicine that if a doctor or dentist says "your kid needs xyz, and he needs it pretty quick*", I may ask for a second opinion, but I'll say yes at some point, and he'll get it done. But I also don't practice a religion that would stop me, or anything of that sort.


*The one time I was really aggressive about a second opinion was when his pediatric dentist told me she intended to use sedation dentistry - as in, she intended to sedate him and strap him down, all for a little filling for a two year old - and that I couldn't be anywhere near him. I was pretty aggressive about that one. I found a dentist that didn't believe that was necessary, the teeth were filled perfectly, and we still go to him to this day!
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children? (karma: 1)
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 18, 2013 08:59 AM
A woman here took her eight or nine year old son on the run last year because doctors wanted to give him radiotherapy for his inoperable brain tumour, and she wanted to explore other options. Probably something to do with herbs. Her main concern was that radiotherapy would leave him infertile. Because fertility is obviously the most important thing WHEN YOU'RE DEAD. I don't know a single person in the country that didn't deem her a stupid bitch, frankly. It didn't help that she'd saddled the poor child with the name Neon.

To sum up, sometimes parents don't know their arsehole from their elbow. Becoming a parent doesn't suddenly make you expert in medicine and neither does it make you immune to stupidity, radical ideas or rash decisions - especially where emotions are running high. People don't always make the best decisions for themselves.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By saaammiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:19 AM
In the same line, what about vaccinations?
Some parents are very against them, should they be able to be overruled by the doctors or a court?
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children? (karma: 1)
By slice
On Sun Aug 18, 2013 09:19 PM
As DG's post exemplified, this is really something that can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. I wouldn't feel comfortable saying "No matter what, a parent's/medical professional/child's decision has priority".

I think there is a certain danger in treating medical professionals like gods, because they aren't. And there are plenty of young, inexperienced, greedy, and just plain incompetent med profs out there who recommend unnecessary procedures to the eventual detriment of the patient. At the same time, simply becoming a parent doesn't immediately infuse someone with a wealth of medical knowledge. Chances are a lot of people don't keep up-to-date with the latest in pediatric care prior to parenthood and research in the medical community moves quickly. Something that was not a necessity or even an option 15, 20, 25 years ago when they were children might be needed now and letting antiquated medical knowledge cloud their judgement could also be to the detriment of their child.

So, not to sound like I'm sidestepping the issue too much, I think asking about specific scenarios as you've done in your other post makes the question easier to answer. Imo, parental consent should not be required for reproductive health issues and as DG described, there's already prepared courses of action for cases like the blood transfusion.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Mon Aug 19, 2013 09:42 AM
It really is on a case by case basis. There are a few medical professionals who will do $1million dollar work ups on kids - including blood work, lumbar puncture, CT scans, etc - to be "sure" it's not a one in a million problem. On the other hand, there are a number of parents who don't know their butt from their eye socket and no amount of sitting down and attempting to explain, teach, or reason is going to work. Thankfully, most parents and most health providers have a brain and common sense and WANT to have a good conversation with someone they connect with to ensure the child comes out happy and healthy on the other side. Literally 99/100 cases come out this way.

I recently started working in a pediatric facility (rather than both adults and kids), and I'm pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming majority of conversations between providers and parents. 99% of parents are completely receptive to the educated opinions of doctors and nurses. When they come in worried their son has appendicitis, they really listen when we explain the results of our exams and tests. It's a wonderful conversation to witness, when a parent gets all of their questions answered thoroughly and completely and the doctor/nurse feels they were both heard and understood by the family. It really is a win/win situation, and I'm proud to workday a facility that focuses on the family AND the patient.

Sometimes it's a religious or cultural issue - those are often easy to handle. Some cultures deeply believe in the power of hot vs. cold, or herbal remedies. Most of the time, these parents will compromise - we can do our Western medicine thing and they can pray, meditate, use warm water, place an herbal remedy, etc. These types of patients are some of my favorite - it's amazing to watch a family come together in a spiritual way to help heal their loved one.

Other times, the parent is just straight-out moronic. If the child is really ill and the parent insists on taking them home or ignoring the recommended and well-established treatment, we'll call security and then CPS. Thankfully, this is a VERY rare situation.

As I mentioned before, a number of the most sensitive issues - birth control, STDs, abortion, mental health - are already laws. Children (I think there's an age limit, have to double check...12+?) can obtain these services without parental consent or involvement in any way.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Mon Aug 19, 2013 09:59 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2013-08-19 10:00:56
Thankfully in California, the parents don't need to be involved. I think we are the minority in that we don't need parental consent or judges consent.
www.guttmacher.org . . .

As you can see in some states, they require parental notification, consent, or the court to overrule. ( I think some states even require for parents to get a legal document giving consent and some of the ages are 16/17 and under)

What do you feel about these states? Should they change their laws so that minors can get abortions without parental notification or consent?
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:52 AM
^Absolutely not. I would hazard a guess that most minors would seek an abortion because they're afraid of their parent's reaction to their being pregnant. That is NOT a good reason to make such a life-altering decision. An overwhelming majority of teenagers can't see past the weekend as far as taking the future into account, and I would hesitate to give them the power to make major decisions like that before they're capable of truly understanding the long-term consequences.

In most walks of parenting life (not only the medical aspect of things), I think that parents need a stronger support system within the community. There are parents that make asinine decisions because they just don't know any better, or they've become so wrapped up in their own view that they've lost perspective. Parents are also constantly having to defend their actions- almost daily- and those that disagree are WAY too quick to accuse them of being bad parents, or the "N" word- Neglect, when in reality they're just imperfect humans doing their best.

As a parent myself, I'll use vaccinations as an example of what I mean:

My mom is vehemently against vaccinations. When she found out I had started the kids on a delayed schedule, she accused me of "pumping them full of poison", and not standing up for my kids health (assuming that the only reason I was getting them vaccinated was because I was too scared to say "no" to the doctor". In her eyes, I've made the penultimate parental mistake of putting my kids at risk of severe defects due to vaccines.

On the other hand, I have a friend that is just as vehement about getting her children vaccinated as soon as humanly possible to protect them. When she heard I was vaccinating my kids on a delayed schedule, she told me that I was risking their lives and that I was neglecting them by inaction.

There's just no way to win. My decisions as a parent- from the moment my children are born to the time they die- have been, are, and will be attacked. Fortunately, I view the kid's pediatrician as a partner in my parenting, but not all doctors are like that. When a doctor frankly tells a parent something that MUST be done for their child, I'm afraid there's probably been so much static that the parent may just discount the doctor's opinion as more noise. It doesn't make it right and I don't agree with that, but as a parent dealing with a bunch of that noise on a daily basis, I sure as heck can see how a parent could do that.

In the end, though, I think that while a doctor may have a child's best interest in mind, that doctor does not know the child as intimately as the parent does. Excusing extreme cases, the parent should be the ONLY one making health decisions for their children. I also assume that, outside of extreme cases, the parent is willing to listen and cooperate with medical professionals.
re: Do you feel that medical professionals should make important health decisions for children?
By crystian
On Wed Jul 07, 2021 07:43 AM
Health decision for children should be taken by parents and doctors both, There should always be concern of parents. Sometimes doctors recommend <a href="https://www.thedailyworld.com/marketplace/best-delta-8-thc-gummies-3-brands-to-check-out-in-2021/">Cannabis gummies</a> to adults and if your child is facing depression or is stress out then you should only give them one gummy so that all they can feel relieve but don't make it a habbit.

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