AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. January 2005, Volume 7, Number 1.

Module 3

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Case 3.3: Confidential Care for Minors and Protecting Genetic Information

Option Comparison

Mandy's readiness to be tested conceals how she feels about learning her genetic status. Hence, referring her to a genetic counselor or adolescent psychologist (option C) is preferable, and beginning the process of genetic testing (option B) should be delayed. An opportunity to discuss her thoughts and feelings about her genetic status is important because it's unknown whether she has explored the topic with her parents, or anyone else.

Although discussion with an adolescent psychologist may indicate the need to inform Mandy's parents of her desire for a genetic test, there is no clear evidence that this is necessary. Accordingly, option A (informing Mandy's parents) should also be avoided.

Preferable: Option C

Avoid: Options A and B

Additional discussion and information

The people and events in this case are fictional. Resemblance to real events or to names of people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.