Being comfortable and honest with your doctor or therapist is vital to getting an accurate diagnosis.
That’s why privacy and doctor-patient confidentiality is necessary, especially for teenagers. Even if some parents don’t understand it.
Redditor throwawayteenbean encountered this very issue with her mom. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for kicking my mom out of the room so I could talk to my doctor privately?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I’m gonna keep this short:”
“I (16F[emale]) have felt very anxious all of the time, feel really depressed, and so on. I’ve mentioned this to my mom, but she just told me that it’s in my head and that I’m fine.”
“So my mom took me to the doctor yesterday with my sister for checkups – and when I got the chance I had asked if I could speak with the doctor alone.”
OP’s mom got upset.
“Mom said she wanted to hear, and I said no and told her to get out of the room.”
“She told me she was my mother and needed to know what was going on, and I told her again to get out.”
“She reluctantly left the room with my sister. After the appointment, my mom accused me of hiding things from her and told me I needed to tell her ‘right now’ what was wrong. I said no.”
“She told my dad, who had a fit on me and said I was very rude and needed to apologize to my mother immediately.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“No, NTA. Doctors should ask parents of teens to leave the room at some point during appointments so they can talk freely.”
“It’s also important for teens to get used to speaking to doctors for themselves. Good medical practice in general, perfectly fine for you to do.” ~ Minimum_Fee1105
“Good doctors usually do. They know that with the parent present, the teen might not tell the truth and that might affect the diagnosis.”
“I’ve had that happen to me in the past, the doctor asked my parents to leave the room before he started asking me questions about my sex life.”
“Edit : forgot to say NTA.” ~ Nashiwa
“Even in x-ray we’re supposed to ask the pregnancy question away from parents so the teenager can be honest.”
“ETA: NTA” ~ kohns0
Some shared their personal experiences.
“This happened to me once in A&E and I still remember being infuriated. They asked me several times if I might be pregnant, but I had never had sex.”
“They asked me if I wanted my mum to leave, but I don’t mind talking about sex in front of her in a medical context – she’s a doctor and we’re close. They kept asking and then did a pregnancy test anyway.”
“I had appendicitis, so I understand the need to rule out pregnancy. But I hated how they didn’t believe me (I had never had sex at the time) and how if they were going to do a pregnancy test anyway, why not just save time and do it from the get go.”
“Edit:I feel I need to clarify, because I’m getting countless messages explaining how lots of people lie and many don’t know they’re pregnant. Yes, I agree, and I have no issue with them testing.”
“If they had asked once and then tested, I probably wouldn’t have remembered. The issue I took was the fact they asked over and over and then did the test anyway. Just do the test in the first place!” ~ Nougattabekidding
“You’d be surprised at how many people don’t understand the basics of sex and pregnancy.”
“I’m sorry you had to deal with that – one of my acquaintances is a doctor and when she went to the ER for stomach pains she also had to reassure them over and over again that she was not pregnant – but until they come out with a retinal-implant that pops up with a person’s relevant details when you see someone, they’ll have to treat everyone as the lowest common denominator to cover their a**es.” ~ squishbunny
“Is there any chance you’re pregnant?”
“What sort of contraception do you use?”
“Oh. Okay, we’ll do the X-ray.” ~ Financial-Astronomer
Redditors explained that privacy is vital.
“In my country I think this is actually legally required, I always find it insane when I hear about Americans having their therapists talking to their parents.”
“Don’t y’all have something called HIPPO or something that deals with this?” ~ WildExamination0
“HIPPA, and yes we do. If a doctor/nurse/therapist speaks to anyone other than the patient without their explicit consent then that is a breach of confidentiality and could be sued for malpractice.”
“Also American here if that matters.” ~ daydreamer8642
“HIPAA.” ~ poietes_4
Therapists can not violate doctor/patient confidentiality.
“Therapists talking to parents is a huge no no. Like ‘lose your license’ no no.”
“With doctors it can get iffy but general rule of thumb is you follow the patients wishes. If patients fine with mom in the room you can let them stay but otherwise they leave and you can’t tell them anything.” ~ tehnightknight
“Not true. Therapists can talk to the parents, but a good therapist won’t disclose details.”
“When I had to go to a therapist in high school, the therapist would speak to my mom in vague terms periodically.”
“Mainly things like ‘don’t worry. She’s not suicidal. She’s just depressed.'”
“But my therapist definitely talked to my mom. Just not details.” ~ juniperxbreeze
“I’m a therapist and in my state teens aged 13 and older have the right to confidential mental health treatment.”
“I have to have them sign a release of information in order to give me permission to talk to their parents. Some want their parents involved, but many do not.” ~ katie3294
One Redditor spelled it out.
“[source: California primary care physician for the past 29 years]”
“You are absolutely NTA!”
“Minors legally and ethically do not require parental consent to receive medical care involving psychiatric concerns (such as depression or anxiety or thoughts of self-harm), concerns about smoking, drinking or drug use or concerns about pregnancy, abortion, birth control or STI’s.”
“Be aware that we are required to report to law enforcement if we are concerned that you may kill yourself or others. This also applies if we are concerned that you are being neglected or abused.”
“Also be aware that your parents are likely to receive a statement from your medical insurance around the visit, assuming that you are on their insurance plan.”
“In other words, you can make your own appointment to see a doctor without your parents but they’re going to see a bill for the appointment unless you yourself pay cash for the appointment. (Please note that if you are on Medicaid or MediCal, we are not allowed to accept cash even if you prefer it.)”
“In an emergency such as an infectious illness or injury, we have the discretion to treat you first and notify your parents second as time is of the essence.”
“If you do not feel safe at home or you are being harmed by one or both of your parents, find a way to let us know.”
“For example, raise a concern for a urinary tract infection by stating that it burns when you urinate. We will typically ask you to use a restroom to give a urine sample for testing.”
“While you are alone in the bathroom, leave a note telling us that you don’t feel safe at home or with your parents. We will call the police immediately.”
“Unless you are a toddler, we are going to be very suspicious of an adult who won’t let you go to the bathroom alone.”
“You absolutely have legal rights of privacy and confidentiality around your health, your body, your emotions and your safety.”
“We have a legal and ethical duty to hear you, to help you and to protect you.” ~ RichardBonham
Protect your mental health and your privacy.