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Informed Consent

The crux of the debate over the treatment of minors is the doctrine of informed consent. A person must offer informed consent to any medical treatment given to them, or the physicians involved can risk legal liability. Informed consent has always been a crucial part of the doctor-patient relationship, and has been viewed by courts as a fundamental right.

But in the case of children, the question is, can they offer informed consent, or does that informed consent have to be provided by their parents, who may be seen as more capable of making a knowledgeable decision on a subject as important as medical care. Beyond this simple question are an important set of underlying questions, pertaining for example to the age at which a child may become capable of informed consent, and whether there are certain procedures in which informed consent is more important than others.

Inside Informed Consent