Another parental notification issue


#1

I took my almost 16 year old son to his annual physical. We weren’t able to get in with our regular pediatrician but what I thought was a worthy replacement. After 40 minutes of being taught how to parent (I’ve only been one for 17 years or so) I was asked to leave before the exam. This is the first time this has happened.

At first I didn’t think anything about it but then my brain kicked in after the fact and I called the office asking what is the doctors responsibility on telling me if he divulged any information regarding sexual activity, drugs, alcohol use etc…to my surprise they told me the law is that at the age of 12 the child has to give PERMISSION to release that information to his parents. I asked what the policy is if I had refused to leave the room and again the child has to give PERMISSION. (Kansas and Missouri laws or so I’m told - on a brief internet search all I could find was information on parental notification and abortion - thanks ACLU and NOW!) :mad:

What has been running through my brain all afternoon is not only why this information for a minor is being withheld but what was discussed. Was he instructed on condom use? Was he instructed that sexual activity is normal part of being a teenage boy? Did he admit to masturbation and told that it is perfectly normal? Did he talk about possible thoughts about being gay and being told that is also perfectly normal. That’s my territory and I don’t know this doctors moral values.

I plan to call my pediatrician tomorrow when she comes back in but I just wanted to alert this forum.


#2

I understand your distress, but have two observations:

  1. Why don’t you simply ask your son what transpired? If you two have an open, loving relationship, you ought to be able to inquire whether topics such as condom use and masturbation were raised.

  2. Your son is 15! He is hardly a child. I can’t imagine having a parent in an exam room with me after the age of 12 - 13 (pelvic exams of girls perhaps are an exception when the clinic/doctor is unknown), and I certainly never did. (And yes, doctors with foreign values and morals examined me, and yes, I was able to hold my own, my parents having taught me well.

Nontheless, I agree that the parental consent issue is worrisome.


#3

Here in NJ when I take my 14 y/o son for his physical it is up to him if he wants me in the room…he usually chooses for me to leave and i can totally understand that…but after the physical the Dr. calls me back into the room and we ALL go over what was discussed etc.
My son comes to me our now that he is older to my husband to ask questions about sex, his changing body etc. The only thing that the Dr. has mentioned to him and discussed is puberty and the changes his body will go through…they(my son and the Dr.) started this at 12 y/o.


#4

I agree with the parental notification issue being very surprising and somewhat alarming, but personally I think a mother being present for an almost 16 year old male physical would be sort of strange. I doubt he wants his mother present to observe the doctor checking for a hernia by examining his scrotum…

I agree with maendem in that if I were you, instead of wondering, I would ask my son what sort of discussion went on and if anything was uncomfortable for him.


#5

I too, would not accompany my oldest son or even my daughter when they were teens in the Peditrication Office, They derserve a little privacy during an exam, but I would want and need to know if they were using drugs, drinking or if they wanted any form of birth control, have a STD or sexually active or especially if my daughter is pregnant. I’m sorry but a parent has the right to know. If my kid can’t take themselves (or their underage friend take them) to an emergency room and get medical care such as stiches or cast put on their broken arm without parental constent(not that this is a good idea, its just an example) or my daughter could not take a pain reliever for cramps with out my permission. Why is this permitted???


#6

Would you insist on being present when your son goes to sacramental confession as well? After all, he may talk about his sexual activity, drugs, alcohol use, etc., to the priest?

The reason that the priest-penitent, doctor-patient, and lawyer-client relationships are confidential is to allow the penitent or patient or client to speak freely, without fear of having personal information revealed to others, even to parents.


#7

[quote=Catholic2003]Would you insist on being present when your son goes to sacramental confession as well? After all, he may talk about his sexual activity, drugs, alcohol use, etc., to the priest?

The reason that the priest-penitent, doctor-patient, and lawyer-client relationships are confidential is to allow the penitent or patient or client to speak freely, without fear of having personal information revealed to others, even to parents.
[/quote]

Of course not, but the difference, the Priest is not going to give him condoms or advise my daughter where she can get an abortion. The Priest more then likely will advise the teen to talk to his/her parents. As far as drugs and alcohol, sexual activity these can lead to serious health problems. As a Doctor preventive care is supposed to be important, so why not tell a parent before the child ends up with a serious drug problem, or a STD that might kill them??? Yes, open honest talk with your teen is Ideal of course, but this is your child and you should have the right to know. Another point a parent has to pay and signs the permission for treatment.


#8

[quote=kaymart]Of course not, but the difference, the Priest is not going to give him condoms or advise my daughter where she can get an abortion. The Priest more then likely will advise the teen to talk to his/her parents. As far as drugs and alcohol, sexual activity these can lead to serious health problems. As a Doctor preventive care is supposed to be important, so why not tell a parent before the child ends up with a serious drug problem, or a STD that might kill them??? Yes, open honest talk with your teen is Ideal of course, but this is your child and you should have the right to know. Another point a parent has to pay and signs the permission for treatment.
[/quote]

I think you will notice that here in NJ this really is not an issue…it has never been an issue with my 14y/o son or it could just be the Dr. that I take him to.
If your child is grounded in his/her faith and has a good relationship with his parents what is the problem? They will surely discuss these things with you and you should be discussing these things with them that way they do not need to go to someone else to get information.


#9

[quote=Karin]I think you will notice that here in NJ this really is not an issue…it has never been an issue with my 14y/o son or it could just be the Dr. that I take him to.
If your child is grounded in his/her faith and has a good relationship with his parents what is the problem? They will surely discuss these things with you and you should be discussing these things with them that way they do not need to go to someone else to get information.
[/quote]

It’s not an issue at all for me with my own children, one child is 27 and married the other almost 21. I had a open relationship (still do) with both. My youngest is autistic and mute age 17, and I do go in with him, but he’s mentally around 6. Now my problem was my baby sister at age 16-(this was 1995) went to school officials and given info on her “choices” (she was pregnant) even had been told all she need was someone age 18 to sign the papers for an abortion! Can you imagine? Needless to say she could not go through with it, finally told our older parents, (who never thought this would happen to # 7.) when she was in her 7th month! She could not “hide” it any longer. Her peditrication knew about this because in June she had an asthma attack and she let the “trusted” doctor know, because of the medicines she takes. But never informed either of my parents. (baby was born in Nov.) with less then 5 weeks of pre-natal care, her daughter, although healthy now, was a sickly underweight (4lbs 3 oz) newborn. Now with some learning disabilities This is my issue with parental notification. The Doctor knew, the school knew, but her parents did not have the right to know?


#10

[quote=kaymart]As a Doctor preventive care is supposed to be important, so why not tell a parent before the child ends up with a serious drug problem, or a STD that might kill them???
[/quote]

Because if the child knows that anything he tells his doctor will be relayed to his parent, then he is more likely to withhold essential information from his doctor. All patients need to feel comfortable being open and honest with their doctor. Otherwise they won’t even get the correct treatment for conditions they already have.

[quote=kaymart]Of course not, but the difference, the Priest is not going to give him condoms or advise my daughter where she can get an abortion.
[/quote]

Not trusting the doctor is one thing. In this case, it would be very appropriate to ask the child about the actions of the doctor.

It is a completely different matter to expect the doctor to tattle on the child. This indicates a lack of trust in the child, not in the doctor.


#11

[quote=kaymart]Her peditrication knew about this because in June she had an asthma attack and she let the “trusted” doctor know, because of the medicines she takes. But never informed either of my parents. (baby was born in Nov.) with less then 5 weeks of pre-natal care, her daughter, although healthy now, was a sickly underweight (4lbs 3 oz) newborn. Now with some learning disabilities This is my issue with parental notification. The Doctor knew, the school knew, but her parents did not have the right to know?
[/quote]

This is a perfect example of why doctor-patient confidentiality is so important. She obviously didn’t want her parents to know, and was willing to go to great lengths to hide her pregnancy. Would it have been better if she had been afraid to tell her doctor as well, and instead been prescibed medicines that might have permanently injured her fetus?

Even children who are afraid to tell their parents about something deserve proper medical treatment.


#12

Another note, I want to stess open honest talks with your children is important, my parents never had this with my sister (or any of us- its just we grew up in a different era) they had her well into middle age and the rest of us siblings were busy raising or starting our own families or away at college or in the Navy. My parents are the ones at fault here and I not denying that. They saw her as a baby even at 16. I just wished for her baby’s sake(my niece) someone would have opened their mouths. Even to call my parents and tell them your daughter needs to talk to you about something…or the school…they will call you if a A student gets a C but this is not important???Not to spill the beans but to open up the lines of talk…


#13

[quote=Catholic2003]This is a perfect example of why doctor-patient confidentiality is so important. She obviously didn’t want her parents to know, and was willing to go to great lengths to hide her pregnancy. Would it have been better if she had been afraid to tell her doctor as well, and instead been prescibed medicines that might have permanently injured her fetus?

Even children who are afraid to tell their parents about something deserve proper medical treatment.
[/quote]

But wasn’t my unborn niece deserving of Medical treatment??? The doctor made no attempt to set her up with anyone. Again only told her she had “choices” there was no attempt at any follow up care, even to call how is the asthma doing?


#14

[quote=kaymart]It’s not an issue at all for me with my own children, one child is 27 and married the other almost 21. I had a open relationship (still do) with both. My youngest is autistic and mute age 17, and I do go in with him, but he’s mentally around 6. Now my problem was my baby sister at age 16-(this was 1995) went to school officials and given info on her “choices” (she was pregnant) even had been told all she need was someone age 18 to sign the papers for an abortion! Can you imagine? Needless to say she could not go through with it, finally told our older parents, (who never thought this would happen to # 7.) when she was in her 7th month! She could not “hide” it any longer. Her peditrication knew about this because in June she had an asthma attack and she let the “trusted” doctor know, because of the medicines she takes. But never informed either of my parents. (baby was born in Nov.) with less then 5 weeks of pre-natal care, her daughter, although healthy now, was a sickly underweight (4lbs 3 oz) newborn. Now with some learning disabilities This is my issue with parental notification. The Doctor knew, the school knew, but her parents did not have the right to know?
[/quote]

Well it sounds like your sister did not feel comfortable discussing these things with her parents…why she felt this way i dont know but that is part of this whole problem…it seems that these kids just for what ever reason feel that they can not go to their parents.


#15

[quote=kaymart]Another note, I want to stess open honest talks with your children is important, my parents never had this with my sister (or any of us- its just we grew up in a different era) they had her well into middle age and the rest of us siblings were busy raising or starting our own families or away at college or in the Navy. My parents are the ones at fault here and I not denying that. They saw her as a baby even at 16. I just wished for her baby’s sake(my niece) someone would have opened their mouths. Even to call my parents and tell them your daughter needs to talk to you about something…or the school…they will call you if a A student gets a C but this is not important???Not to spill the beans but to open up the lines of talk…
[/quote]

AHH…certain types of schools will call you if your daughter is pregnant…Catholic schools! Becuase more than likely she is going to get expelled for having sex out of wedlock!


#16

[quote=kaymart]But wasn’t my unborn niece deserving of Medical treatment??? The doctor made no attempt to set her up with anyone. Again only told her she had “choices” there was no attempt at any follow up care, even to call how is the asthma doing?
[/quote]

Think it is time to find another Dr. but also your sister is too blame for not seeking medical care for her child!


#17

[quote=Karin]Well it sounds like your sister did not feel comfortable discussing these things with her parents…why she felt this way i dont know but that is part of this whole problem…it seems that these kids just for what ever reason feel that they can not go to their parents.
[/quote]

I blame myself too in this situation I am 22 years older then her. I too, should have been more alert. My parents, not mean, just treated her like a baby herself. My other sister informed her about her monthly cycle, as did the school. This is why I stress open relationship with your children. But in the case of any girl who is pregnant, there is another person in need of medical care, and I do feel Doctors should take that into consideration no matter what. What is she miscarried and hemmoraged? What if there was pre-term labor? Also this why there is an increase of babies left in the trash, killed shorty after birth, because the teen is still afraid to tell the parents, if someone spoke up maybe these babies would be alive today.


#18

[quote=Karin]Think it is time to find another Dr. but also your sister is too blame for not seeking medical care for her child!
[/quote]

Karin, she was 16 and did not drive yet, the only info she got was “Planned Parenthood” with no money or insurance where really can a kid go? You can’t even get Medicaid without nesscary papers that you need to get from parents, you need birth certificates, financal statement(pay stubs) plus this was not an option for most, because most kids are still under parents insurance. Which means Medicaid will not pay . Many could of, should of yes, and she lives with this every day of her life now.


#19

[quote=kaymart]Karin, she was 16 and did not drive yet, the only info she got was “Planned Parenthood” with no money or insurance where really can a kid go? You can’t even get Medicaid without nesscary papers that you need to get from parents, you need birth certificates, financal statement(pay stubs) plus this was not an option for most, because most kids are still under parents insurance. Which means Medicaid will not pay . Many could of, should of yes, and she lives with this every day of her life now.
[/quote]

I know all three of our local hospitals(Holy Name, Hackensack and Englewood Hospitals) have clinics for people with no money or insurance (most hospitals provide this service)…you can take a bus or have a friend drive you there…so P.P. is not the only option…there are always other options.


#20

[quote=Karin]I know all three of our local hospitals have clinics for people with no money or insurance…you can take a bus or have a friend drive you there…so P.P. is not the only option…there are always other options .
[/quote]

Yes, of course and us as adults know this but at sixteen, do kids really know this? This doctor did not even tell her this. She knew the family, she took care of most of us as children and knew my parents well enough that they would not “throw her out” My main problem is their was no-follow up whatsoever. Even to ask “How’s her Asthma”


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