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March 13, 1987

Consent and Confidentiality in the Health Care of Children and Adolescents: A Legal Guide

Author Affiliations

Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia

Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia


by James M. Morrissey, Adele D. Hofmann, and Jeffrey C. Thorpe, 273 pp, $30, New York, Free Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;257(10):1397. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390100135040

The authors of this book are two practicing lawyers with a long involvement in health law and rights of minors and a pediatrician who has specialized in adolescent medicine. They present "a legal guide" for health care professionals, mainly physicians, and address the complex interface of health care and the various areas of the law pertaining to it in the United States. However, their primary aim is not necessarily to help physicians protect themselves; rather, they want to explicate how the legal system may be utilized to benefit patients and their treatment needs.

The book analyzes the question of consent: Who can give consent? Under what circumstances? Who must protect the privacy of whom and to what lengths? When do public and patient interests coincide and conflict? When can a physician treat a minor, withhold information from the parents, and still expect payment for services rendered?

The authors succeed well