The general rule is that a patient must have the capacity to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of the contemplated treatment in order to be eligible to give informed consent to medical treatment. With respect to minors, the main issues are how one determines whether a minor has the appropriate ‘capacity’ to assess properly and decide about medical treatment and who is responsible for making that determination.
The courts have accepted that there is no precise age at which a minor can be presumed to have the capacity required to give informed consent. Instead, each minor must be individually assessed to determine whether that person’s maturity and level of understanding are sufficient to comprehend the nature, benefits and risks of the proposed treatment. It is possible that a minor may have capacity to make some types of treatment decisions and lack capacity for more complex treatments. ampicillin antibiotic –
McCall and Robertson note that The common law test of capacity is both subjective and functional, and the age of the child is simply one of many factors that must be taken into consideration. The age, intelligence and experience of the particular child must be considered, along with the nature and consequences of the particular treatment. Thus, capacity may vary among children of the same age; one 12-year old may be capable of understanding the nature and consequences of proposed treatment, another may not. Capacity must also vary according to the severity and complexity of the proposed treatment; a 12-year-old may be capable of consenting to some forms of treatment, but not to others.