After the surgeon has explained your child's surgery to you, she'll ask you to sign an informed consent form, which says that you understand the procedure, as well as all the risks and benefits it entails. In Pennsylvania, parental (or legal guardian) consent is required for any diagnostic or surgical procedure performed on a child under the age of 18.
Who can sign the informed consent form?
One or both parents — or the legal guardian — sign the informed consent for a child under 18. Legal guardians will be required to show proof that this legal relationship exists. A consent form must be signed before surgery can be scheduled.
Adolescents and informed consent
If your child is a teen, you should include her in any discussions about her health, her treatments and any surgery. A parent will still sign the consent for those children less than 18 years of age.
However, emancipated adolescents — teens who are legally responsible for themselves and/or no longer living with their parents — may make their own healthcare decisions and sign their own informed consent forms. An adolescent is considered "emancipated" if he:
- Is married
- Has a child
- Is in the military