Methods: Data were gathered from 123 ambulance workers in The Netherlands in a longitudinal design.
A minor, in New York State, is defined as a person who is under eighteen (18) years of age.
This is defined by the General Obligations Law § 1-202, Domestic Relations Law § 2 and Public Health Law § 2504.
An uninjured child may be supervised by law enforcement personnel or a school or activity (soccer, etc.) supervisor until a parent is contacted.
In some situations, a responsible adult (grandparent, aunt, brother, etc.) with the child can assist in the decisions making.
Medical control may be able to influence the situation, even if it can't change the consent options.
EMS providers may find themselves responsible for minors, in situations they have been called to when there is no parent or guardian present or reachable.
Although it is easy to determine a legal definition of a minor, the responsibility to treat or release is a much more complex legal, ethical, social and public relations problem.
The nature of children and their special needs coupled with their inability to legally give informed consent, present special and unique matters for EMS personnel to consider and evaluate.
EMS agencies should work with local youth activities to ensure they have made plans to contact parents, have provided consent to treatment forms or have other permissions in place for the children in their supervision.
EMS agencies also need to work and plan with all police agencies for those situations involving minors, particularly those who are not injured and do not require hospitalization.
The issue of providing care and/or the patient's right to refuse care becomes a complex circumstance EMS providers must address.