The informed consent process for emergency surgery in children poses a challenge for pediatric surgeons because the child and his/her parents must make medical decisions in a relatively short period. The unique circumstances of a surgical emergency create potential barriers to achieving the central goals of the informed consent process. This notwithstanding, if the parents are present, then the document must be signed. The fundamental principle of informed consent is relatively clear. Almost 100 years ago, Justice Cardozo stated "Every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient's consent commits an assault for which he is liable for damages." Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital, 105 N.E. 92 (New York, 1914) overruled on other grounds, Bing v. Thunig, 143 N.E. 2d 3 (New York, 1957). Accordingly, it goes without saying that the parents must consent for the surgery.
If however the parents were not available, then the doctor should attempt all ways possible to locate the parents while at the same time explaining to the patient what is happening and what must happen. The underlying purpose of informed consent is to provide each individual patient with control over his or her own body. To imply consent because a reasonable person might consent but where this patient, in fact, did not consent, undermines the entire philosophy of informed consent. Thus if the parents are not available, the surgery cannot happen.
Paula Patient doesn't want her violent boyfriend to know she's getting an abortion, so she asks Dr. Bob to send all communications to her to a post office box and to phone her only at work. What should Dr. Bob do, and what is the legal basis for your advice If she tells Dr. Bob that not doing this will endanger her, would your answer be different
Assuming of course that Dr. Bob is the man performing the abortion, he only needs Paula's consent. There are two prevailing standards for informed consent. The first, the so called "traditional" or "community" standard, is physician centered and defined by the common and customary practices in the medical community, or on what a reasonable physician would reveal in a particular situation. The second standard is patient centered, and is defined by what a "reasonable patient" would find relevant to his or her decision to accept or forego a recommended medical treatment. Simply stated, abortion does not involve any body other than that of the female. The procedure is being performed on the female, and for that reason, there is no other consent required but that of the female. The basic tenet of abortion and the laws applied to it are for the preservation of the woman and nobody else.
Moreover, the Supreme court has made it clear in their decisions that they are not interested in discussing the perceived rights of a child but rather sustaining the rights of the woman. Accordingly, there is no difference whether Paula's boyfriend is violent or an angel. He has no bearing whatsoever in the decision process because it is not his body and therefore is not entitled to consent to anything.
Paula Patient's attorney asks Dr. Bob for medical records about Paula's car accident and