When Medical Care and Parents Collide-Parents Who Refuse Testing and or Treatment for Children

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1 Scopus citations


Medical Neglect is a challenging diagnosis. Physicians and parents may clash over what they both perceive to be in the best interest of the child. Cultural, religious, financial, or philosophical differences between the health care providers and families can be difficult to negotiate. This paper reviews the definition of medical neglect and describes barriers that can prevent families from following medical recommendations for their child. Involvement of statutory authorities to intervene in cases of medical neglect may be helpful, but also may result in increased friction between parents and the health system, often without a satisfactory outcome for the child. Recognizing and then overcoming such barriers, as well as improving communication can help the family to begin to cooperate with medical recommendations. The paper will present an approach to families, parameters for reporting when all other options have failed, and the child remains at risk for harm due to the failure of the parent or caregiver to follow medical advice. The ultimate goal of any intervention is to ensure that children can achieve their full potential, in a nurturing and caring environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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