Legal and ethical issues facing adolescent health care professionals

Angela Diaz, Wendy P. Neal, Anne T. Nucci, Pamela Ludmer, Jacalyn Bitterman, Sharon Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article reviews the legal standards and ethical dilemmas surrounding the provision of care to adolescent patients. Uncertainty and ambiguity in this area has contributed to the underserving of the adolescent population. Usually, the legal right to consent to treatment resides with the adolescent's parent or legal guardian; however, there are many cases in which adolescents may provide their own consent. The determination that the adolescent is "mature" is one important factor. The law generally upholds a provider's determination. of maturity of a patient. Minors also have the right to confidentiality in almost all situations in which they have the right to consent. The issue of confidentiality poses legal and ethical challenges to the provider in five discussed areas. Providers should be aware of the laws specific to their state, while keeping foremost the best interest of their patients. Providers should also encourage parental involvement and communication concerning treatment, while respecting adolescents' right to confidentiality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-185
Number of pages5
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent health
  • Ethics
  • Legal issues
  • Mandated reporting
  • Patient confidentiality


Dive into the research topics of 'Legal and ethical issues facing adolescent health care professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this