Vol 84, No 2 (2013)

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Legal aspects in pediatric and adolescent gynecology

Michał Pawlaczyk, Witold Kędzia, Zbigniew Friebe, Anhelli Syrenicz, Grażyna Jarząbek-Bielecka, Elżbieta Andrysiak-Mamos, Elżbieta Sowińska-Przepiera
DOI: 10.17772/gp/1553
Ginekol Pol 2013;84(2).


Childhood and adolescent gynecology is an emerging specialty, at the intersection of pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, gynecology, pediatric surgery, dermatology, psychiatry, public health medicine and genetics, and in fact addresses many legal issues. Poland lacks a uniform standing of medical and legal environments on how to deal with a juvenile patient who has become sexually active and seeks the advice of a gynecologist, gynecologic examination and requests to be prescribed contraceptives. It needs to be taken into account that in Poland a parent or a legal guardian has legal guardianship, custody and control of a child until 18 years of age but once a juvenile reaches the chronological age of 16 years, and is given full rights of a patient, both parties need to consent to medical care. According to the Act on Health Care Institutions, a patient has the right to self-determination, respect for physical and mental integrity, as well as privacy, whereas, after the patient reaches the age of 16 years, the legal representative becomes in practice a mere co-decision maker to have medical services performed. Therefore, information obtained from a juvenile patient during physical test and medical interview does not have to be revealed to a legal representative, if the patient requests confidentiality and on condition it does not affect patient health and/or the planned medical procedures (e.g. the need to perform an operation). Knowledge about procedures for juvenile patients shall enable doctors to make conscious choices about conduct and care or, in most cases, only advice, without the risk of breaching the Polish law.

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