How much of the teen patient visit should you keep confidential?

Pediatricians knowing what to keep confidential can be challenging, especially when treating patients in the middle-school years.

Perri Klass, in a new NY Times column (kudos to them for bringing excellent physician-writers aboard) talks about the conundrum when an adolescent “doesn’t want to let Mom know.”

When talking to her colleagues, Dr. Kass finds that there are many cases of ambiguity. You have to weigh the value of keeping a child’s trust versus keeping them safe.

This can be a highly variable situation, as “the balance changes in part based on what the level of the health risks are, how mature that young person is, how much parental oversight they’re receiving.”

So there is no right answer, and each case has to be individually considered.

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