Collision between law and ethics: consent for treatment with adolescents.

J. M. Shields and A. Johnson,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 20(3): 309-23, 1992.
The dilemmas between legal obligations and ethical responsibilities can often create problems in clinical work. The treatment of minors, and particularly adolescents, can present special issues to the clinician that are becoming increasingly frequent and difficult. The issue of informed consent for treatment of adolescents raises serious questions for the clinical practitioner who is faced with both legal and ethical dilemmas in making decisions about treatment. There are an increasing number of cases where adolescents may seek treatment yet are in circumstances that preclude parental consent. This paper uses case material to illustrate some of the legal, ethical, and treatment considerations in the situation of adolescent treatment where parental consent is problematic.