HIPPA crap

I find it amusing that as soon as your child turns 18 years old they are suddenly responsible for themselves and every medical decision they make. Privacy kicks in. I still am paying the bill. I am still their next of kin.

When I brought my husband to the oral surgeon, they were more than happy to escort me back to the room with him. Answer any questions that he had. Answer any questions that I had. Explained the procedure to both of us in the procedure room, etc. He was certainly old enough to sign his own consent forms at 40+ years of age.

Today, I am sitting in the waiting room of the same oral surgeon’s office. It is not even a year later. I brought Ben here last fall. Today, I am here with Andrew. We are getting his wisdom teeth extracted. Today, I was not invited to go back with Andrew to the room with him. They checked his age and saw that he was 19 years old and certainly old enough to sign his own consent forms. I was no longer needed. Never mind that I just paid the outrageous price tag for said operation. He would not be a patient in their office without Ben and I – his parents – his next of kin.

The oral surgeon did come out to the waiting room and talk to me and ask if I had any questions and talk to me a few minutes. I am truly appreciative of that.

I still find it amusing that the ONLY NEXT OF KIN that this child has is his PARENTS and he’s suddenly cut off from those when he turns 18 years old. Shaking head. NO! Let him sign his own consent forms. I do not have a problem with that. I actually felt quite liberated when I could hand the paperwork to my child and make them fill it out for the first time. I had done my job. I got them to adulthood. It was their turn now. They could take over.

I just think that doctors (of all kinds) should treat these kids with the same respect that you would their older adult counterparts. They cannot drive themselves to your office because they cannot drive themselves home and in most cases they brought their parents as their support arm. Not their girlfriends, not their best friend, their mother or their father. Their next of kin is still important in their life and that does not change just because their age suddenly passed some magical number that allows them to sign for themselves and grants them magical privacy rights. You do not have to tell me what is in their chart but please grant me and them the same luxury that you granted my husband – you allowed his support in the room with him. You did not leave me standing at the door. It takes no longer for my 19 year old son than it does my 40+ year old husband.

Do not leave me high and dry simply because HIPPA laws now apply. They do not. That is not what they mean. They do not mean that the 19 year old boy about to go into surgery for the first time has to check his support arm at the door at the first time. It simply means that his information is protected.

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