Let’s face it. We live in a highly litigious society today. Hospitals and physicians are being sued for treating sick children without authorization from guardians. And unfortunately, the very same, as well as caregivers in general, are being sued for assault or battery charges during the treatment of minors. So how are we supposed to handle an emergency situation, when our child needs medical attention, but we are not present to give authorization?
I’m sure we all share the same sentiments and never want to think about anything bad happening to our children. But unfortunately accidents happen. And so do illnesses. That is why an Emergency Medical Release Form, also known as Medical Treatment Authorization for a Minor, is a vital document to add to your New Mom arsenal.
An Emergency Medical Release Form is a document that gives express consent by a guardian to a caregiver or babysitter for medical care of a minor. Now we all know, in a life threatening situation, medical professionals will care for your child. But what if it isn’t life threatening, but it’s still serious? Without express permission, your child could be left without medical attention.
A good document will outline things such as:
- Who is authorized to obtain medical treatment for the child and the dates they are authorized to do so
- Name(s) of child(ren) under their care and date of birth
- Guardian(s) full name(s), address and all contact phone #s
- Health Insurance company name, policy # and subscriber name
- Name, address and phone # of pediatrician/physician and any other medical professionals treating the child
- Name and address of preferred Hospital
- Details of treatments authorized – i.e. emergency medical care, routine medical care or administration of medicines
- Details of any chronic conditions or other illnesses the child has
- Details of any medications child is currently taking, including dosage amounts and times taken
- Any allergies known in child
- Emergency contact names and numbers
- Signature and Date lines for guardians to sign to release consent
Once drafted, its best to have your Emergency Medical Release Form reviewed by a lawyer to address any concerns or holes in the document. And if you use a babysitter that is under the age of 18, be sure to ask your lawyer how to address this on your form. Some medical providers may not accept a medical treatment authorization that is given to a minor (i.e. a high-school age babysitter). You might also consider calling your medical providers and preferred hospital to find out their requirements, if any, for this type of document.
Remember, medical treatment authorization can only be given by a child’s parents or legal guardians. It cannot come from a family member; be it grandmother, sister, aunt or cousin … That’s why having an Emergency Medical Release Form is vital and should be updated on a consistent basis. This document should be given to any person in the care of your child, even if watching them for only 5 minutes while you are gone.
Here are a few resources to help get you started. Remember: We recommend that you consult with a lawyer to get professional legal advice on your medical treatment authorization, prior to use.