The Informed Consent in Pediatrics – A Child’s Right
Dana Elena Mindru, Mioara Calipsoana Matei, Aurica Rugina, Irina Mihaela Ciomaga, N. Nistor, Laura Florescu
The Medical-Surgical Journal, 29 March 2019; 123(1)
Consent signifies the patient’s knowingly authorization of a medical intervention. Revealing the truth about the patient’s condition refers to the provision of information by the physician regarding the diagnosis and the treatment, as well as their understanding by the patient. His or her decision-making capacity refers to the ability of understanding the data that have been provided. The independent decision refers to the patient’s right to make a free decision regarding his or her treatment, without constraint or manipulation. Informed consent is one of the most sensitive issues of the physician-patient, researcher-subject relationship. Minors do not have the capacity of independent decision; therefore, the decision by substitution given by parents or legal representatives is required. The minor child’s consent to the medical treatment and pediatric scientific research expresses itself under the form of assent, which is valid starting with the age of 14. Doctors should ask for parental consent before medical interventions (except in cases of emergency, when parents cannot be contacted). From a practical standpoint, when it comes to obtaining a valid consent, it is useful to make a distinction between the problem-solving process and the decision-making process. The permission given by parents includes all standard elements of informed consent. In each case, the doctor has to make sure that he or she has a valid consent because, in legal terms, treating a patient without his or her consent is a crime, while treatment based on inadequate consent constitutes negligence.
Editor’s note: We note that this is a Romanian publication and therefore the abstract noting assent beginning at age 14 is local to the Romanian context.