Testing times: what is the legal situation when an adolescent wants a genetic test?
Clinical Ethics 2007 December; 2(4): 176-180
Clinicians, as well as other health-care professionals in genetics clinics, may find themselves in the position where they must consider whether it would be appropriate to offer a diagnostic genetic test to an adolescent. While a clinician's decision to offer a diagnostic genetic test may be straightforward in clinical terms, the dynamics of family interaction and circumstances may make the decision-making process more complicated. Disagreement between parent and child place clinicians in a difficult position and they must be clear about the scope of their professional responsibility and obligations, to both parents and the adolescent. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Gillick principles and statutory requirements regarding the genetic testing of adolescents. While I will discuss the clinician's obligations, these legal requirements also have applicability to other health-care professionals, such as genetic counsellors, working in genetics clinics.
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