As a parent, we’ve all had to fill out forms relating to our child for school, daycare, sports, camp or whatever their latest endeavor happens to be. The most common form provided by parents with minor children, aside from an immunization record, is a medical release form. A medical release form enables emergency medical personnel to administer emergency health care to your child. Every organization from little league to high school will require a minor child to have a medical release form.
A medical release form is kept on hand by the requesting organization to be provided to emergency medical personnel in the event of an injury or accident. A medical release form will include your child’s basic information such as name, address, custodial information, emergency contact names and numbers, and in most cases, a brief medical history and any applicable allergies or conditions. This basic information is followed by two sections, one of which must be completed and signed.
The first section is completed to authorize the organization to call emergency medical personnel if necessary and also authorizes the emergency medical personnel to administer treatment to your child. There will be a place for you to name your preferred physician, dentist, and hospital, but you will also be authorizing any physician or hospital to treat your child if none of your preferred contacts are available. Without this section completed, emergency medical care will not be given to your child unless there is a life-threatening occurrence.
The second section is completed if you refuse authorization of emergency medical treatment. In this case, you will be asked to outline a plan that you are requesting the organization to follow in the event of injury, illness, or other emergency. It is important that you have a thorough plan and one that will work for your family before refusing authorization. However, in a life-threatening emergency, your refusal to authorize emergency personnel to administer treatment may be overruled.
A medical release form can seem almost threatening if you view it as signing away your rights to hold those in charge of your child liable for an accident. To the contrary though, a medical release form only grants those in charge of your child the right to call emergency personnel and grants the emergency personnel the right to treat your child. It does not mean that the emergency personnel are not liable to provide quality treatment, or that the organization that called can not be held liable for an accident.