Summary: A new article looks at the limitations of parental rights in the medical system when it comes to making decisions for some children with brain injuries.
Source: Neuroscience News.
Consent and Capacity, two strong concepts, absolutely required when it comes to making medical decisions, and existing in a grey area when it comes to definition. When a patient suffers from brain injury, these questions become all the more pertinent and particularly, when that person is a child.
It’s not just medical decisions, should a person want to seek out the assistance of brain injury solicitors or make a complaint to their healthcare provider, a child with brain injury can sometimes need an advocate to be their voice. This is when the conflict of interest becomes more difficult to deal with, as we have seen in recent high profile brain injury cases. What are a parent or guardians rights and what are the rights of a patient?
Are the two one and the same? Not entirely, regardless of capacity, you are always your own person and if it was perceived that a person was acting in their own interests on the behalf of a patient with brain injury, a new guardian or advocate can be appointed.
Does a parent have the final say?
Ultimately, no, a parent does not get to have the final say over all medical decisions made for their child. Your consent is required for most decisions made by doctors, unless they perceive a child to be in immediate danger and then they can act as they see fit. While you can refuse to consent to treatment for your child, if you were found to be preventing your child from receiving lifesaving care, you can be charged with neglect.
Similarly, doctors do not have to take their orders from parents, however well researched and well meaning they may be. While a good healthcare team will take things into consideration, research the family has done or ideas for treatment the family would like to see explored, the staff are ultimately liable for the standard of care your child receives. You cannot demand treatment options that may have been denied for good reasons.
Recent cases have highlighted the tension between doctors and parents, who’s priorities and world views are massively different. While there are options you can pursue if you are unhappy with your child’s care, it matters that we distinguish between what a parent wants and what a child needs.
That when people who do not have capacity become voiceless, their parents or guardians may become their voice and advocate, but the patients do not cease to be people.
About the Author: Shannon Mulligan is a proud employee of Your Legal Friend, a UK based solicitors who specialise in medical negligence. Your Legal Friend is raising awareness of parents rights when it comes to their children’s clinical care. For more information, visit www.yourlegalfriend.com or connect on social media at facebook.com/yourlegalfriend
Source: Shannon Mulligan – Neuroscience News
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.