Do You Know Who Can Consent to the Treatment of a Minor?
By David Doolittle


Welcome back to another edition of the Texas Medical Association’s occasional pop quiz on topics important to Texas physicians.

Today’s issue: consent for treating a minor.

Before we get started, let’s go over the definition of a minor: That’s a person younger than 18 who has never been married and never been declared an adult by a court.

Now that we’re clear on that, let’s move on to the pop quiz:

  1. Are there any circumstances in which a nonparent can give consent for the treatment of a minor?
  2. Are there circumstances in which a minor can consent to his or her own medical treatment?
  3. Does Texas law require consent in emergencies where it is not possible to obtain consent from a parent, guardian, or conservator?
  4. Which mental health issues can a minor consent to counseling for without consent from a parent or guardian?

So how did you do?

If you’re not sure, or if you need a refresher course, check out TMA’s recently updated white paper: Consent For Treatment of Minors.

The white paper, written by the TMA Office of the General Counsel, includes general answers to all of the questions above and more. It’s there to help you understand what you can and cannot do when treating a person younger than 18.

Find it and many other white papers on TMA’s website. They are available free to TMA members.

And if you have other questions, contact TMA’s Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or via email.

Last Updated On

November 26, 2019

Originally Published On

November 26, 2019

David Doolittle


(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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