Many protocols are similar when it comes to when a person can or can not refuse medical care. It often includes such situations as Active Duty military, emancipated minor or the like, but what about when that person is responsible for another little person?
I’m called to an MVA and find a family from the local Air Force Base lost control on the ice and crashed into a parked car. There are minor injuries to the driver, who is in his early twenties, and is refusing treatment, which we agree is appropriate. The female is 17 and is experiencing lower abdominal pain where the seat belt was. Not entirely uncommon, but we advise that, because of her young age, there may be something the doctors can make sure doesn’t become a problem in the future. She is refusing care as well. She is not married to the gentleman in the car, nor is he the father of the child.
The 6 month old, properly secured to her car seat, is smiling and doesn’t appear to have even noticed the car is stopped.
My question to all of you, keeping in mind protocols vary by jurisdiction, is this:
Based on your local protocols can the 17 year old unwed mother make her own medical decisions and refuse treatment?
If your answer is no, as the biological mother of the minor child, can she make medical decisions for that child?
You make the call.