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A physician only needs the consent of the custodial parent to administer drugs; that is, if the parents are separated or divorced. If the parents are living together as husband and wife, again, only the consent of one parent is needed. Medical treatment of this sort implies some degree of urgency; and it is often inconvenient to locate and secure the signatures of both parents. It is assumed, legally, that each parent will have the child's best interest at heart, and will not act or disregard of the others express wishes. Therefore, physicians, surgeons, and hospitals normally only require the signature of the available parent, unless the parent does not have legal custody of the child, a situation that does not happen often. In some situations, if an emergency exists, the physician may administer treatment without parental consent.
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