School is out, and summer is in full swing for many San Diego families. For many, summer brings fun family outings and vacations. At times, this means children get to travel to stay with grandparents or other family members, without mom and dad. And occasionally, mom and dad are able to sneak away for a little trip of their own. In situations such as these, are there medical authorization forms a parent should consider when leaving their minor child in the care of a family member or babysitter?
Occasionally, mom or dad leave their children under the care of another for something other than a date night. If mom and dad go on a weekend trip where they may not be able to be reached, or are traveling outside the country, the parent should consider what might happen if an accident occurs. Will the babysitter be able to take a minor child to the doctor for treatment?
If the accident is an emergency type situation, the minor child will be able to receive treatment. California law provides: “A provider shall not be liable for performing a procedure on a minor if the provider “reasonably believed that [the] procedure should be undertaken immediately and that there was insufficient time to obtain [parental] informed consent.” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2397 This law is applicable regardless of whether the parent is present, or the age of the minor.
However, in the absence of an emergency, a doctor’s office will most likely require a medical authorization form prior to providing treatment. As an example, prior clients of Law Office of Christine Padilla were traveling recently without their minor children. The children were in grandma’s care, and grandma had to take one child to the doctor for what turned out to be a meningitis scare. Unfortunately, despite the child being with their maternal grandmother, the doctor’s office declined to provide treatment without a signed medical authorization form by the child’s parents. This proved to be both difficult and time consuming, since the parents were traveling outside of the country.
There are certain situations where a child may be able to consent to a particular type of treatment, particularly an older child. However, as a precaution, it is always advisable that parents execute a medical authorization form prior to 1) traveling without their minor children, or 2) leaving minor children in someone else’s extended care. The authorization form should provide for the type of medical authorization, the time frame for the authorization, and include the child’s insurance information. Your child’s pediatrician may have these types of forms available, or you may request your legal counsel prepare one of these forms on your behalf.
A quality estate planning attorney should provide your family with assistance in preparing not only for what happens to your property should you pass, but also in what may be necessary should you be unavailable to make decisions on behalf of your minor children. At the Law Office of Christine Padilla, we wish everyone a safe and happy summer, and welcome you to contact us with any of your estate planning needs. – Christine Padilla, San Diego attorney