Patient consent to medical treatment plays a significant role in doctor-patient interactions. A physician cannot examine or treat a patient unless the patient, or someone who is legally responsible for the patient, has given permission. A patient's consent is valid only if the patient is able to understand what is being proposed and the associated risks and available alternatives. A family physician may face a dilemma when dealing with a patient who is a minor, and whose parent or guardian cannot or will not consent to medical treatment on behalf of the patient, or a patient who prohibits the family physician from involving an adult who is legally responsible for him/her. Decisions that relate to certain aspects of treating adolescents, especially the provision of contraceptive advice, must be made carefully, bearing in mind the patient's ability to understand the medical and social or moral issues involved
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