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  • Medical Emancipation

    We provide ambulance services in the state of Pennsylvania. There are times when we encounter older teens who were involved in minor vehicle accidents (or some other incident). The teenagers want to refuse treatment and transport but, as minors, their parents must make that decision. Typically their parents are not with them. There have been times when an older teenager told us that they are emancipated in order to convince us that they may make their own health care decisions and refuse services without contacting their parents. (As a side note, there is this general understanding that a teenager who is a parent themselves is automatically emancipated).

    The questions are: (1) When is a teenager considered emancipated, at least to make their own health decisions? and (2) How do we verify they are telling the truth if they are?

    Thank you for your answers. -- Hoff
    Last edited by Hoff; 03-13-2012, 10:48 AM.

  • #2
    Das ist in der Doktor!

    Hoff: The questions are: (1) When is a teenager considered emancipated, at least to make their own health decisions?
    There is no such thing as automatic emancipation, medical purposes only in Pennsylvania. If they need emergency treatment you may need to get the police involved.
    Considering you may be there because little Johnny or Suzi just recked their parents Beamer, there probably will be one there anyway.

    and (2) How do we verify they are telling the truth if they are?
    See the above.
    If they try and say they are emancipated, they're lying.

    ..___________________
    ~ Free advice is like your public defender,
    Öyou get what you pay for. ~ drr
    Last edited by drruthless; 03-13-2012, 12:00 PM.

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    • #3
      The age of majority in Pa. is 18.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        While they may not legally be able to refuse treatment, you do not have the right to take them into custody for treatment - only a police officer can authorize that, and even then, it must be a true emergency. Hopefully your company has a lawyer who can advise you on this, because you could be in serious trouble for trying to force a minor into your ambulance and taking them away.
        I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Alice Dodd View Post
          While they may not legally be able to refuse treatment, you do not have the right to take them into custody for treatment - only a police officer can authorize that, and even then, it must be a true emergency. Hopefully your company has a lawyer who can advise you on this, because you could be in serious trouble for trying to force a minor into your ambulance and taking them away.


          I'm intrigued by this response.

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          • #6
            And yes, even in Pennsylvania, a teen mother is considered medically emancipated IF the matter pertains to her own reproductive health and the health of her child.

            We need to be clear, folks.
            Last edited by Dogmatique; 03-13-2012, 09:30 PM.

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            • #7
              Okay, and I'm not even clear on whether a police officer can authorize.... You really need a lawyer to advise you on this one.
              I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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              • #8
                Thank you for your answers. I also consulted the EMS protocols from the state Dept of Health EMS Bureau. Some of the info conflicts with what was said here; but I have my doubts about the protocols. Here is what I found.

                - If the patient is 18 years of age or older,
                -has graduated from high school,
                -has married, has been pregnant, or is an emancipated minor,
                - the patient may make the decision to consent to or refuse treatment or transport.

                - A minor is emancipated regarding consent to medical care if the the minorís parents expressly, or implicitly by virtue of their conduct, surrender their right to exercise parental duties as to the care of the minor.
                - If a minor has been married or has borne a child, the minor may make the decision to consent to or refuse treatment or transport of his or her child.
                - If the minor professes to satisfy any of the aforementioned criteria, but does not satisfy the criterion, the EMS practitioner may nevertheless comply with the decision if the EMS practitioner, in good faith, believes the minor.


                If a person who has authority to make medical decisions for a minor cannot be located, and the EMS practitioner believes that an attempt to secure consent would result in delay of treatment which would increase the risk to the minorís life or health, and the EMS practitioner is unable to contact a medical command physician for direction, the EMS practitioner may provide medical treatment to the and transport a minor patient without securing consent.

                An EMS practitioner may provide medical treatment to and transport any person who is unable to give consent for any reason, including minors, where there is no other person reasonably available who is legally authorized to refuse or give consent to the medical treatment or transport, providing the EMS practitioner has acted in good faith and without knowledge of facts negating consent.

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                • #9
                  Das ist in der Doktor!

                  Originally posted by Hoff View Post
                  Thank you for your answers. I also consulted the EMS protocols from the state Dept of Health EMS Bureau. Some of the info conflicts with what was said here; but I have my doubts about the protocols. Here is what I found.

                  - If the patient is 18 years of age or older,
                  -has graduated from high school,
                  -has married, has been pregnant, or is an emancipated minor,
                  - the patient may make the decision to consent to or refuse treatment or transport.

                  - A minor is emancipated regarding consent to medical care if the the minorís parents expressly, or implicitly by virtue of their conduct, surrender their right to exercise parental duties as to the care of the minor.
                  - If a minor has been married or has borne a child, the minor may make the decision to consent to or refuse treatment or transport of his or her child.
                  - If the minor professes to satisfy any of the aforementioned criteria, but does not satisfy the criterion, the EMS practitioner may nevertheless comply with the decision if the EMS practitioner, in good faith, believes the minor.


                  If a person who has authority to make medical decisions for a minor cannot be located, and the EMS practitioner believes that an attempt to secure consent would result in delay of treatment which would increase the risk to the minorís life or health, and the EMS practitioner is unable to contact a medical command physician for direction, the EMS practitioner may provide medical treatment to the and transport a minor patient without securing consent.

                  An EMS practitioner may provide medical treatment to and transport any person who is unable to give consent for any reason, including minors, where there is no other person reasonably available who is legally authorized to refuse or give consent to the medical treatment or transport, providing the EMS practitioner has acted in good faith and without knowledge of facts negating consent.

                  Well, then it looks like ya got all yer ducks to fit on the gurney, more or less.
                  .._______________
                  ~Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority,
                  and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that,
                  it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end. ~ unknown

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hoff View Post
                    Thank you for your answers. I also consulted the EMS protocols from the state Dept of Health EMS Bureau. Some of the info conflicts with what was said here; but I have my doubts about the protocols. Here is what I found.

                    - An EMS practitioner may provide medical treatment to and transport any person who is unable to give consent for any reason, including minors, where there is no other person reasonably available who is legally authorized to refuse or give consent to the medical treatment or transport, providing the EMS practitioner has acted in good faith and without knowledge of facts negating consent.
                    That's what I was going to say. No parent + a verified medical need, if the kid asks for help, you give it. Though i'm not sure of the legality, I know in the past when a VFD I was with did the munchies at a couple of local rodeos there'd be kids coming up crying, having boo boos on their arms or knees from running & playing. Sometimes we'd bend the rules if nothing else was happening.
                    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
                    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
                    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
                    Don't worry, be happy.

                    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

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