HMC makes it mandatory for parents or guardians to be present during a medical assessment of their sick children
With effect from April 1, all children seeking treatment at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Pediatric Emergency Centers (PECs) must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive non-urgent medical care.
This new rule is applicable to all HMC’s network of hospitals and facilities and is a precautionary effort to prevent children being brought by the family’s housekeeper, helper or driver instead of a parent or guardian.
“According to Article 49 of Qatar Civil Law – Number 22 of 2004, adulthood starts from 18 years of age in Qatar. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a minor, thus we need to have an adult parent or guardian to give consent on a child’s behalf to carry out any medical procedures,” said Dr. Khalid Al Ansari, Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Services at HMC.
There are very important and practical reasons why this ruling requires that a sick child must be accompanied by his or her parent. It is only a parent who can provide details of a child’s medical history including medication allergies and immunization records. “There are also often language barriers between healthcare workers and helpers or drivers. Having a parent or guardian present ensures they get vital information about their child’s condition directly and are then able to make informed decisions about next steps,” he said.
However, Dr. Al Ansari emphasized that when implementing the new measures, no child brought into PEC without a parent will be turned away. “Any child requiring urgent and critical care is attended to and put in a stable condition until a parent arrives and other necessary procedures can be done. PEC staff will make all efforts to contact the child’s parent and keep them informed until they arrive,” he said.
[Photo courtesy: Lawrence Whittemore via Flickr]