A person under age 18 is considered a minor and generally may not consent to their own medical treatment without authorization from a parent, guardian or custodian. There are exceptions to this rule. In an emergency, the physician should try to obtain consent from a minor’s parent or surrogate, whenever possible; if that consent is obtained from a surrogate, then it should be documented.

Minors may consent to their own treatment in several situations, including when a married minor consents to treatment for him/herself and for his/her spouse, when a minor parent consents to treatment for his/her own minor child, and when a minor treats for his/her own venereal disease, drug abuse or any illness arising from these.

Special attention should be given, when a female patient treats for pregnancy, the prevention of pregnancy or childbirth. In these circumstances, treatment may be rendered regardless of age or marital status. However, particular attention should be paid to specific Georgia laws not discussed here that address the consent requirements for sterilization and abortion procedures.