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  1. Section Editor(s): Brooke, Penny Simpson APRN, MS, JD

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I'm new to pediatric nursing and I'm wondering what I should do if a minor patient asks for his medical record and his parents don't want him to see it. Should I let him see it, or not? -E. K., ARIZ.


A minor doesn't have the legal right to see his medical record without his parents' permission. Because a minor may lack the capacity to understand the consequences of his decisions, his parents are recognized under the law as his guardians until he reaches the age of majority or is emancipated. The parent (or a legal guardian) has the authority to consent on behalf of the minor, but if the parent doesn't give consent, you can't legally show him the record.


If a minor patient asks to see his medical record, find out why he's interested. Is he just curious? Maybe he's interested in becoming a nurse or physician. Or is he worried that his parents or the staff aren't telling him something? Just by being available to talk and using good communication skills, you may be able to address his curiosity or alleviate his concerns.


Talk with his parents and his health care provider about his request too. Perhaps the parents need to include him in more decisions, depending on his age and his mental and emotional capacity.