Letter: Medico-legal problems if there is no examination

Dear Editor

I would like to comment on the advice that 'from a medico-legal perspective, all children must be examined in the presence of their guardian,' (GP, 16 December 2005).

I would argue that, from a medico-legal perspective, the interests of the child are paramount. Therefore I assume that an examination could be conducted without the presence of a guardian if this could be justified as being in the child's best interests? I agree that an appropriate chaperon and careful documentation would be essential.

Even in the apparently non-urgent case of a child with a genital rash, it could be argued that a brief examination would be in the child's best interest before sending him home with advice to re-attend later.

Without an examination, how confident could you be that the 'rash' wasn't cigarette burns, bite marks, erythema from torsion or infection or even a petechial rash of early meningococcal disease?

Moreover, what would your medico-legal position be if you missed serious pathology through failing to examine?

Dr Sean Allen, Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us: