Thursday, December 01, 2005


Not much time to write this AM, but let me make a few observations about abortion and minor consent from the point of view of a physician practicing emergency medicine for 25 years.
  • Current law forbids my touching a minor even to treat her sore throat without parental consent.
  • The two exceptions are a) the existence of any medical emergency that requires action before consent can be obtained, and b) a minor who is pregnant or has been pregnant, who is considered "emancipated"
  • Though I may treat the true emergency as clinically necessary, I must also be making an effort to inform the parents, except in the case of the emancipated minor
  • I see complications of pregnancy all the time. I have never seen one that required an emergency abortion. In the first trimester, the health-threatening conditions all involve fetal demise in any case, and treatment consists of" cleaning up" after the miscarriage or tubal pregnancy. This is true in the second trimester also, where complications involve the placental apparatus for the most part, or a weak cervix, both of which primarily threaten the baby's life. In the 3rd trimester, there are conditions like pre-eclampsia that do threaten the mothers life, but these are treatable by delivery of a now-viable baby.
  • The only maternal health issue that does not involve an inevitable fetal demise is "mental health." To my mind, these are precisely the cases in which parents need to be involved.

Gotta run.

No comments:

Post a Comment