Patients’ rights, doctor’s visit and co. – Who decides about your body?
Can I go to the doctor without a parent or guardian present? Do my parents have to consent to certain treatments for me as their child? When can I start taking the pill?? Do I have to be vaccinated? If I have become pregnant unintentionally: Can I have the baby aborted?
When it comes to your body, you want to have a say in. And you should. Patients’ rights for minors, however, are a complicated matter. Often it’s not just a question of age, but of how much you already understand. We’ll take a closer look to help you understand your Rights as a patient know!
When should I go to the doctor?
Sometimes there are reasons why you would rather not talk to your parents about something. About a visit to the doctor for example. Maybe you are embarrassed about something or you are in trouble? You should never be embarrassed about a visit to the doctor, no matter what situation you’re in.
Whatever is behind it: If you’re not feeling well, you should let your parents in on it and go to the Doctor go. How else can you get better? It is very unlikely that anyone will want to forbid you to visit the doctor. After all, your parents first and foremost want you to be well. You are per Law By the way, also obliged to take care of your health. This is part of their responsibilities as guardians. If you are insured with a public health insurance company (i.e. not private), you can go to the doctor on your own from the age of 16 and request treatment as a patient. However, the health insurance company should usually inform your parents about it. After all, it is about their child who is ill.
Your right in practice: When does the medical secrecy apply?
Doctors are always bound by medical confidentiality. This is part of your patient rights. This means that, with a few exceptions, they are not allowed to give consent to anyone Information about your appointment and pass on its contents. If your parents want to know what you discussed with your doctor as a patient, you can tell them, but you don’t have to. Your wish for Treatment Doctors do not have to comply with this, but they can ask you to get your parents involved if they think it is necessary. Because just as you have rights as a patient, your doctor has rights too, and needs to make sure you understand what treatments entail. In the case of a serious illness, a doctor would most likely get your parents involved. Or in the event of a treatment error for which another medical professional is responsible. Fact 3: The decisive factor is not age, but capacity to consent
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What is capacity to consent?
In most medical matters, it matters less how old you are. More importantly, given your age and development, are you already able to understand what the medical procedure entails and can you properly assess that significance. Legally this is called capacity to consent. The ability to give consent is not tied to a certain age. Instead, it depends on whether the patient, according to his or her mental and moral maturity, is capable of grasping the significance and scope of the intervention as well as its risks. In other words, you must be able to give your consent to the treatment.
The be-all and end-all of patients’ rights: Informing them
Before treatment, it must be explained to you in detail what will happen and what the consequences of non-treatment would be. As a patient, it is your right to know what risks there might be with the treatment and what a Treatment errors could entail. For example, inflammation of the puncture site of a needle used to draw blood. Then the doctor has to check if you understand and can evaluate all this. Particularly for routine treatments such as a blood draw, adolescents are usually considered capable of giving consent from 14 or 16 onwards. Ultimately, however, the doctor decides whether your consent is sufficient for him to treat you or whether he obtains the consent of your legal guardians. He will therefore also make his decision dependent on how serious the medical intervention is for you as a patient.
Similarly, if you are a patient who needs or wants a particular medication. This can also be done without a legal guardian under certain circumstances. Here, the doctor also checks your ability to give consent, for example, if you want to take the pill to prevent pregnancy.
It is the same with vaccinations. You may have a different opinion about vaccinations than your parents. Even if you are their child: Here is your right as a patient to decide for yourself under certain circumstances. In any case, however, let yourself be extensively consulted with every medical treatment. In a personal consultation or Clarification the attending physician can certainly clear up any uncertainties when it comes to your medical care.