Providers can treat child with one parent's consent, Fla. court rules


The Florida Court of Appeals ruled it is not the duty of healthcare providers to investigate parental disagreements, nor is it required providers receive consent from both parents before administering care to a child.

The court's decision resulted from a case in which a father sued a surgeon for performing adenoid and ear-tube surgery on his child without his consent. After initially canceling two ear surgeries for both of his children, the father found out the mother had allegedly rescheduled the surgery for one child without his consent. Although the father called surgeon staff and denied consent, the child's chart included a note from the mother stating the parents' attorneys agreed the father would come to the hospital to give consent. The father did not come to the hospital, and the surgery was performed.

When the surgeon contacted the father for a follow-up, the father said he knew nothing about the surgery, and filed a lawsuit against the surgeon. 

However, upon review, no Florida law mandates that a healthcare provider receive consent from both parents before caring for a minor, as each time the issue is addressed in state statutes, only a singular person is mentioned.

The court's ruling does not deprive any parent of giving consent, and protects providers who perform treatments with the consent of only one parent in Florida.


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