In general, medical treatment may not be provided to a minor without consent from a parent or guardian
By law, there are five cases in which minors are allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to receive medical care
If in these cases, a waiver of medical confidentiality is required for treatment, the minor may sign the waiver for him/herself.
In general, medical treatment may not be provided to a minor under the age of 18 without consent from a parent or guardian, except in the cases listed below.
- There are certain cases in which Israeli law allows minors of a certain age, to decide for themselves - without parental consent - to undergo or refrain from medical treatment.
Who is eligible?
- Any minor who meets the requirements for one of the following medical situations may consent for himself or participate in the decision-making regarding these treatments or tests.
Medical Care of a Minor who's Parent has been Convicted or Accused of Committing a Sexual Assault or Violence
- If one of the parents have been convicted of a sexual or violent crime against a child, or is being tired for a criminal offense due to the crime, consent is not required from that parent for medical treatment of the same child, the parent will not be given the same information about the child's health care. For more information see Preventing the Involvement of a Parent who has been Convicted or Accused of Committing a Sexual Assault or Violence in a Minor's Medical Care
- The parent may apply to the Family Court to ask for consent to treat their child, and get information about their health care, the court will require special circumstances to accept the request of the parent.
Routine Examinations and Medical Treatments of Minors Over the Age of 14
- A care provider may perform a routine test or treatment on a minor who is over the age of 14 without parental consent and without accompaniment, on condition that the minor him/herself gives informed consent for the medical procedure.
- Care should be taken to make sure that the prognosis and suggested treatment are given and explained to the minor in a language that he/she can understand and a letter should be given to the minor to give to the parents.
- Despite this, before any additional tests or treatments that are not routine or in a situation that there is concern for a serious medical issue, or something that will need follow-up and/or additional treatments; the care provider must invite the parents or speak with them on the phone in order to give them this information and get their consent. If the minor is against informing his/her parents or if there is concern that telling the parents may harm the child, or the response to the treatment, or will interfere with the child's well being, a social worker should be brought in accordance with the Youth Law.
- A minor of any age seeking an abortion may agree to the procedure, without parents being informed or providing consent.
- In specific cases, a medical facility social worker or welfare officer will be involved in order to ensure the minor's well-being
- In specific cases, an HIV/AIDS blood test may be administered to a minor even without the parents being informed or providing consent.
- For minors over the age of 14, the test may be administered in one of the facilities recognized to do so by the Ministry of Health. The test requires the approval of a doctor at that facility.
- For minors under the age of 14, approval must be obtained from a professional team including a doctor and social worker.
- A juvenile court may, according to a welfare officer request, order the results of a positive test to be disclosed to a minor's parents even if the minor opposes it.
- For more information, see: HIV/AIDS Testing for a Minor without Parental Consent.
- A minor age 15 and above:
- The minor may refuse psychiatric hospitalization requested by his/her parents (or legal guardian), and in this case he can only be hospitalized by way of a court order.
- The minor may request hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital or ward and will be hospitalized if his parents or legal guardian don't oppose. In a case that there is opposition, the minor can refer to the youth court to order his hospitalization. For more information see Psychiatric Hospitalization with the Minor's Consent.
- Minors under the age of 15:
- Can not, on their own, request to be hospitalized.
- The minor may oppose a parental or guardian request for hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital or ward; in such an instance, the case will be brought before a district psychiatric committee for children and youth, which will decide whether or not to approve the hospitalization.
- For more information, see: Voluntary hospitalization of a minor with mental health issues.
- Minors over the age of 16 are entitled and obligated to receive explanations, with parental presence, regarding the testing before it is performed.
- The minor's consent is required in addition to the parent's before the testing is done.
- If a minor refuses the testing, it may not be performed even if there is parental consent.
- Minors over the age of 17 are entitled to provide a living will and appoint a representative with power of attorney regarding issues related to care of the terminally ill according to its definition in The Terminally Ill Patient Law.
- Minors over the age of 17 who are terminally ill may make decisions regarding their care in the same ways adults can, and parental consent is not required.
- The position towards a request from a minor from age 15 who is terminally ill and requests treatment is treated with great weight: if he/she wants to be treated the request is accepted, even if the parents oppose treatment.
How to Claim It?
- Where relevant, the minor may request medical care even without parental/guardian consent.
- In cases where a waiver of medical confidentiality is required to provide a particular form of medical care, the minor may sign for this (this is only in the cases stated above in which the minor is eligible to agree to or refuse treatment without parental consent). For more information, see: Waiving Medical Confidentiality for a Minor.
- In all other cases, parental consent should be obtained (except for emergency situations in which for the good of the child treatment is required, even if parental consent has not yet been obtained and even if it is known that parents are opposed to treatment).
- As a general rule, both parent's consent should be obtained, but as a general rule, it is assumed that if one parent has given consent for treatment, the other has agreed as well.
- Therefore, it is accepted that regarding routine medical visits (such as a check-up in the clinic, a routine vaccination, routine laboratory examinations or provision of non-narcotic medication) one parent's approval suffices, unless it is otherwise known to treatment staff (for example, based on past treatment) of opposition from the other parent to the medication or type of treatment.
- In cases where the parent who is not present for the treatment contacts the medical institution directly and explicitly asks for his/her consent to any treatment, the medical staff must wait for his/her consent before providing treatment to the minor, on the condition that according to the discretion of the practitioner, waiting for the consent of both parents will not harm the patient.
- In a non-routine treatment (such as surgery, mental treatment, hospitalization, and provision of narcotic medications) , to improve the treatment of the minor, a great effort should be made to obtain consent from both parents, on the condition that according to the discretion of the practitioner, waiting for the consent of both parents will not harm the patient.
- In urgent cases, approval from one parent will suffice. Afterwards, the other parent should be notified.
- There are certain cases in which a minor can't consent to treatment on his/her own but his/her consent to treatment is needed in addition to parental consent. For more information see Informed Consent for Medical Treatment (in the "informed consent for medical treatment of minors section).
Laws and Regulations
- The Treatment of the Mentally Ill Law
- The Youth Law (Care and Supervision)
- The Terminally Ill Patient Law
- The Detection of the AIDS Virus in Minors Law, 5756-1996
- Patient's Rights Laws - Section 16a
- The Genetic Information Law - section 25.
- Treating a minor without parental consent or in a case in which there is a disagreement between the parents - The Knesset Research and Information Center, 24.02.2014.
- The basis of this page was written by students as part of IDC Herzliya's clinic for assiting children and youth at risk, in cooperation with Elem – The Association for Youth at Risk.
- English translation and maintenance by The Shira Pransky Project.