As parents, we are always concerned about the health and well-being of our children, especially when they are underage. But, did you know that once they turn 18, or the legal adult age in another state or country, you have no legal right to their information should anything happen to them? Unless you have a written directive from your child, most hospitals, medical care facilities, colleges/universities, and other institutions are under no legal obligation to share any information with you.

Usually, the hospital or medical care facility will deal with you if your child is unconscious or otherwise unable to provide information or consent to the medical caregiver. However, that changes once your child can communicate with the medical staff. Unless you have written consent from your child, his doctors or other medical personnel are generally prohibited, by law, from discussing their care or treatment with you.

That happened to me. My son was involved in a major accident and, as long as he was unconscious/unable to communicate, the hospital staff/doctors/etc., kept us apprised of what was going on and asked for our consent to treat. That changed once he was able to communicate on his own. No one would tell us anything, including his status, or plan of treatment. Fortunately, our son had signed a medical authorization to us a couple of years before, when he had gone out of the country on a school field trip. We presented the hospital with the signed document and were then given access to his doctors and other hospital information. If we did not have that document, we would have been unable to find out anything once our son regained consciousness.

Make sure you have your child’s authorization so that you are not left in the dark should you encounter a similar situation.

Photo by David McBee from Pexels

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