This course examines the law governing medical treatment of minors. It explores the tension between parents’ authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, the child’s needs and wishes, the duty of medical professionals to provide adequate care, and the state’s interest in protecting the child and citizens from harm. It examines how medical decisions are made or should be made when these actors disagree on the appropriate course of treatment for a child, including whether to terminate treatment, religious objections to treatment, and traditional versus alternative treatment options. The course will explore issues raised when minors wish to make decisions about their reproductive health and the challenges raised when a minor needs mental health treatment. It will also explore public health issues affecting children and how medical professionals and the state address these problems. Special attention will be paid to policy-based and ethical questions raised by the issues covered.
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Identify and analyze common medical situations involving treatment of minors that may raise legal and ethical dilemmas
- Evaluate who has the authority to consent to treatment of a minor in different situations
- Apply the HIPPA Privacy Rule to minors
- Recognize situations in which health care providers must or should notify child protective services or seek judicial guidance
- Propose reforms to address current public health issues
- Identify and analyze how state intervention may disproportionately impact low-income parents and racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and sexual minorities
- Recognize situations in which professional legal advice is necessary and communicate effectively with legal counsel
The Children's Health and the Law course can be completed in just 8 weeks. Coursework must be completed in the sequence in which it is offered. You should plan to spend about 6-8 hours per week on online coursework, including reading assignments, research and writing projects, and online discussions.