A Minor Detail: Heidi Creston

Handling the medical treatment of a minor can be tricky. Heidi Creston is back to discuss some of these special circumstances.

Welcome back, Heidi!

I work in L&D, and by far, dealing with family issues is more demanding of my time and energy than anything else. There is one issue that continually pops up and more and more I am finding it in the books I’ve been reading as well. I’m not an expert but I’d like to toss my two cents in for whatever it’s worth.

There are three primary condition that will emancipate a minor WITHOUT a court order:

1. Marriage
2. Joining the Armed Forces
3. Reaching the age of 18

Marriage or enlistment in military service by a minor brings about a new relationship of obligation and responsibility between the child and someone other than the parents. The severing of the child-parent relationship in this manner constitutes as an implied emancipation.

Substantiated reports of desertion, abandonment, non-support and other conduct of the parent may constitute reasonable circumstances for implied emancipation of a minor depending on the age and maturity level of the minor.

Pregnancy, in most states, does not constitute for implied emancipation. The pregnant minor is MEDICALLY emancipated, meaning they can make medical decisions for themselves and their baby only. The best option is to research the emancipation laws in the state that your are writing about because regulations vary from state to state.

Some states are pretty liberal with their emancipation procedures and a judge can sign off on it without a hearing if all parties involved are in agreement. So if you are planning some animosity within your story with those teenagers, take a quick peek at the laws first.

Marriage is another minor detail as well. Some states, like Wyoming, the legal age of marital consent is 19, not 18. So there is good reason said boy had to talk to girl’s dad first.

Jordyn here: I did a series as well on HIPAA issues that you might find interesting. Several aspects of this law are violated by authors frequently. Check these links for further information.

1. http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-beware-law-hipaa-part-13.html
2. http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-beware-law-hipaa-part-23.html
3. http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/2011/12/author-beware-law-hipaa-33.html

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Adelheideh Creston lives in New York. She is former military and married military as well. Her grandmother was a WAVE and inspired her to become a nurse. Heidi spent some time as a certified nursing assistant, then an LPN, working in geriatrics, med surge, psych, telemetry and orthopedics. She’s been an RN several years with a specialty in labor and delivery and neonatology. Her experience has primarily been with military medicine, but she has also worked in the civilian sector.

Heidi is an avid reader. She loves Christian fiction mysteries and suspense. Though, don’t recommend the gory graphic stuff to her… please. She enjoys writing her own stories and is yet unpublished.

Dianna Benson: EMS Treatment of a Minor (1/2)

Mart asks: My MC is 16 yrs old. She gets hit by a truck. She has road rash. Right leg turned black and blue. Shin welled up. But other than feeling like she literally was hit by a truck, she is okay….she thinks. What would most likely occur after an incident like this? In short, how can I make it so a 16 yr old girl who has been hit by a car, stalls at home before her Mom takes her to the ER?
I hope there is a way.
Dianna says:
A 16-year-old can accept EMS treatment and transport to a hospital. However, a 16-year-old cannot refuse treatment and/or transport – EMS has a refusal form that requires a signature from the patient, a minimum of age 18, or from a parent or legal guardian of a minor aged patient, 17-years-old or younger. EMS will not leave a patient at the scene until we obtain a signed refusal form (we wait for as long as it takes to obtain that signature).
It’s not uncommon for patients to refuse an ambulance transport to avoid additional medical bills and then have someone drive them to the ED.
From your scene description, it sounds like the patient was a pedestrian stuck from a truck at low speed, propelling her body in the air slightly; her leg skidded on the road, stopping her.
A pedestrian struck by a moving vehicle is a serious mechanism of injury thus a high priority trauma. EMS will encourage both treatment and transport by explaining to your patient she may have internal injuries.
I actually say to patients, “I don’t have x-ray vision or CT scan capabilities inside my ambulance, so I’m unable to verify if you’ve sustained internal injuries or not.” If transport is still declined, I obtain a signature of refusal from a parent or legal guardian (the uncle wouldn’t be enough). The way around this legal issue is for the MC to call her mom and EMS waits for her to arrive on scene.
Was the truck driver at fault for hitting the MC? If the driver is legally at fault, then most patients tend to accept EMS treatment and transport (think law suit). Regardless of any pending law suit, I think the uncle would insist the main character be transported.
Once the mom arrives on scene, I find it unbelievable (and not likeable or smart of the mom) that a mom would refuse transport to a hospital for their injured teenager struck by a moving truck as a pedestrian. That’s a serious mechanism of injury (most car accidents are minor, but being hit by a car as a pedestrian is serious). However, if you prefer to avoid an ambulance ride in your story, then write in the following: 1) Keep the injuries extremely minor – EMS finds no abnormalities beyond right lower extremity minor swelling and abrasions with slight oozing blood.  2) All her vital signs are within normal limits. 3) The patient assessment from EMS cleared C-spine immobilization (backboard and neck collar).
However, since the mechanism of injury is significant, in order for those three above points to be believable, you’ll need to write in the following: 1) The truck was moving at extreme low speed (like 5 miles per hour); it’s amazing how much damage just 10 miles per hour causes. 2) The truck is small or it’s a small car. 3) She wasn’t thrown far in the air (height or distance) and didn’t hit anything else. 3) Her behavior and signs and symptoms indicate she suffered no injuries beyond minor contusions and abrasions. 4) She’s adamant against a trip to the ED.
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After majoring in communications and enjoying a successful career as a travel agent, Dianna Torscher Benson left the travel industry to write novels and earn her EMS degree. An EMT and Haz-Mat Operative in Wake County, NC, Dianna loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need, often in their darkest time in life. Her suspense novels about characters who are ordinary people thrown into tremendous circumstances, provide readers with a similar kind of rush. Married to her best friend, Leo, she met her husband when they walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid and groomsmen at a wedding when she was eleven and he was thirteen. They live in North Carolina with their three children. Visit her website at http://www.diannatbenson.com