Most states either do not have a law regarding birth control services or minors, or the states have provisions allowing for minors to attain birth control services without communicating with a parent. Many states, such as Florida, can provide birth control to minors without parental consent if the patient has ever been pregnant, is married, received a referral from another doctor, may have health problems related to not getting the birth control prescription, or is a high school graduate.
Being that this is not the case for the 14-year old patient, I would inform her that it is unlawful for me to prescribe her birth control because of her age without parental consent; however, she still has many birth control options available. However, any minor, regardless of age, can receive confidential care and treatment related to family planning at a federally funded family planning clinic without parental consent (McGuire, Bruce & Bruce, 2009). I believe that it would be in the best interest of the patient to receive counseling and/or treatment for birth control, pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases without parental involvement, referring her to a federally funded family planning clinic, such as Planned Parenthood.
Family planning clinics can offer condoms, spermicide, sponges and diaphragms to help prevent pregnancy. At the family planning clinics, she can also receive information about less effective means of pregnancy prevention, such as the family awareness method (which involves scheduling sex during the times of month when a woman is least likely to be fertile).
After divulging this information to my patient, I will keep in mind that the general rule regarding release of a patient’s medical record is that information contained in a patient’s medical record may be released to third parties only if the patient has consented to such disclosure. As she requested I would not inform her mother about the true purpose of the visit. As a health care professional, before I was permitted to practice medicine, I had to take the Hippocratic Oath. In essence, The Hippocratic Oath states that “I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.” (Tyson, 2001) By informing the parent of my patient’s sexual involvement, I am breaching the very oath that allowed me to be in the position to assist her. Although my personal views may conflict in this case, I will not let that derail me from the overall well-being of my patients. In this case, I would have conceal the true intentions of this visit from the mother and reassure her that her daughter will be fine if she follows the standard procedure for treating a sore throat.
McGuire, A., Bruce, C., & Bruce, C. (2009). Keeping children’s secrets: confidentiality in the physician-patient relationship Houston journal of health, law, and policy. Retrieved February 3, 2013 from http://www.law.uh.edu/hjhlp/Issues/Vol_82/McGuire.pdf
Tyson, P. (2001). NOVA | The hippocratic oath today. PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/hippocratic-oath-today.html
Patient Confidentiality. (2012). American Medical Association. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/legal-topics/patient-physician-relationship-topics/patient-confidentiality.page