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April 2004, Volume 34 Number 4 , p 20 - 20



© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Volume 34(4)             April 2004             p 20 Unsafe at any speed [ADVICE, P.R.N.: IMPAIRED PARENT]

I work in a pediatric clinic in a suburban area where most patients arrive by car. Twice recently I've cared for a child brought in by a parent who reeked of alcohol. In both cases, the parent had driven the child to the clinic for treatment—and drove the child away afterward. What should I do in a situation like this ?—C.L., N.C.

Not only do you have an ethical and legal obligation to protect your patient, but you also have an obligation to keep an intoxicated person from getting behind the wheel of a car and endangering public safety. In the situation you describe, you should tell the parent that you'll help her find other transportation home. If she becomes angry and refuses to accept your assistance, you'll have to call ...

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