Developing a Policy for Sexual Assault Examinations on Incapacitated Patients and Patients Unable to Consent



Sexual assault examinations consist of a medical evaluation and forensic evidence collection. Usually the patient signs a consent form allowing the examination to occur. Occasionally circumstances exist that render a patient unable to give consent for this examination. Such circumstances include young age, mental health disease, cognitive delay, or drug/alcohol ingestion. This article provides suggestions for developing a policy allowing a sexual assault examination to be conducted without patient consent. A sample of such a policy is provided.