Physicians must remain vigilant about their ethical duties to patients, especially in high-stakes situations. The question raised by this case—whether a physician should comply with a parent’s demand for treatment against her underage child’s wishes—is not one of life or death in which a guardian might more credibly argue her judgment should stand. Given that forcing a rape kit exam on a patient who refuses to give assent could be further traumatizing, we argue that the physician should not comply. Deciding upon a course of action in this situation will involve considering what is in the patient’s best interest and what constitutes a physician’s appropriate role in gathering evidence for criminal investigations.
Bowdler, M., & Kent, H. (2018). Should a physician comply with a parent’s demands for a forensic exam on a 16-year-old trauma patient? AMA Journal of Ethics, 20(1), 36–43. https://doi.org/10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.1.ecas2-1801
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