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Case studies

These case studies highlight and explore some of the principles covered in Protecting children and young people: The responsibilities of all doctors. We hope that they will help doctors and others to understand how the principles in the guidance apply in practice.  

  • A parent’s lifestyle choice. This case study looks at a doctor assessing whether a parent’s decision about her children’s diet is a child protection concern or not. The parent, Mrs Smith, has put her family on a ‘new healthy eating regime’ which is potentially harmful. Dr Pai shares his concerns with the parent and has to decide what action, if any, he should take next. This case study is intended to illustrate paragraphs 2-12 (identifying children and young people at risk of, or suffering abuse or neglect) and paragraphs 28-51 (confidentiality and sharing information) of Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors.
  • Families’ cultural and religious practices. This case study focuses on how a doctor in an Accident and Emergency setting assesses whether a young person’s decision to participate in her family’s religious practices is putting her at risk. See how the doctor handles their communication with the parent and young person. This case study is intended to illustrate paragraphs 2-12 (identifying children and young people at risk of, or suffering abuse or neglect) and paragraph 16 (communicating with children and young people) of Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors.
  • Profoundly deaf patient. This case study focuses on meeting the communication needs of children and young people when discussing child protection concerns. The GP, Dr Abbott, has child protection concerns about her patient Paul who is 16 and profoundly deaf. How does the doctor manage to discuss her concerns directly with Paul? This case study is intended to illustrate paragraphs 13-22 (communication and support) of Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors.
  • Sharing information about a child without the consent of a parent. This case study looks at how a hospital doctor weighs up the risks associated with sharing child protection concerns with a parent. The doctor, Mr Halliday, has concerns about the safety of 5 year old George who has been brought into A & E but finds it very difficult to speak to the parent. Find out what the doctor does next. This case study is intended to illustrate paragraphs 13-22 (communication and support) and paragraphs 28-51 (confidentiality and sharing information ) of Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors.
  • Parent refuses consent. This case study centres on the issues surrounding the need for a child to be tested for a communicable disease. See what steps Dr Jegede takes to reach a decision when the parent refuses to have her 9 year old daughter tested for HIV. This case study is intended to illustrate paragraphs 28-51 (confidentiality and sharing information) of Protecting children and young people: the responsibilities of all doctors. You can also see our guidance at paragraphs 12-16 of Confidentiality: disclosing information about serious communicable diseases for more information on what to do if you think a child is at risk of serious harm because their parents refuse to allow them to be tested for a serious communicable disease. For further information on testing children of parents with HIV infections see ‘Don’t Forget the Children’ Guidance for the HIV testing of children with HIV-positive parents (pdf).