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Vol. 13 - Num. 50

Medicine and Law

The minor’s situation in health care

Juana Ruiz Jiméneza

aProfesora de Derecho Civil de la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED). Especialista en Derecho Sanitario.

Correspondence: J Ruiz. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Ruiz Jiménez J. The minor’s situation in health care. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2011;13:e15-e37.

Published in Internet: 18-04-2011 - Visits: 11330


The current situation of the minor in the sanitary field has experienced a change which is parallel to the social evolution. This change spins around the person’s autonomy. There has been a shift from policies of dependence and submission to the parents’ will to promoting the minor’s autonomy. This autonomy is supported in the idea that the minor is progressively getting a development in his/her ability to do and to understand.

As a start, promoting people’s autonomy in general and minors’ in particular provides them with a bigger independence and freedom. But this could generate some conflicts. In the first place, because there isn’t a clear criterion to determine the maturity rate of a minor to know if he/she is able to take decisions on a medical situation. The legislation doesn’t establish the criteria to be used (difficult task), neither the professionals who should make the evaluation, and when there is a reference to the maturity rate it is made in a general way. In the second place the minority is a long period in which the minor goes through very different stages. Even though a great progress in the issue has been made, it is mandatory to set and harmonize the legal code to reach to more well-balanced solutions.


Legislation Minor mature Minors



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