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Little Secrets, Big Lies: Minors: Special Circumstances 

Little Secrets, Big Lies: Minors: Special Circumstances
Little Secrets, Big Lies: Minors: Special Circumstances

Simiao Li-Sauerwine

and Diane L. Gorgas

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date: 20 April 2021

This chapter addresses the ethical issues surrounding provision of emergency care to minor patients. The highlighted case illustrates a scenario in which a 12-year-old boy is diagnosed with acute leukemia. Recommendations by national organizations are reviewed regarding care of minors. First discussed is the concept of assent by a minor that acknowledges the decision-making abilities and rights of the child, tailored to an appropriate developmental level. This is in juxtaposition to the concept of parental dissent, which also is addressed. Finally, the focus is on care of minors in special situations, including the ethics of emergent conditions when care without parental consent is necessary. Additionally, criteria for emancipated minor and mature minor designations are reviewed.

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