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by Abigail Van Buren

Medical Privacy Rules Stymie 'Dad' to Girlfriend's Children

DEAR ABBY: I am 32 and in a relationship with a 31-year-old single mother. Her son, "Steven," is 7. Her daughter, "Jessica," is 15.

I am a stay-at-home dad. Both kids refer to me as "Dad," as I have been a part of Steven's life more than his (incarcerated) dad has ever been. Because I am a stay-at-home dad, this means I take Steven to various professional appointments, doctors, including a psychiatrist for ADHD, the dentist and various sports activities.

I was informed three weeks ago Jessica is pregnant. When I take our boy for doctor's visits, they always want guarantor information, and I always sign. But after a recent checkup of his, I called for results and was outright lied to -- "We don't have the results back" -- and Jessica's doctor said they can't release any information to me.

Abby, I'm in this for the long haul. If doctors will let me sign to pay their medical expenses but I can't have the results, what can I do? -- STAY-AT-HOME-DAD

DEAR "DAD": A guarantor is different from a legal guardian or parent. Have their mother call the doctors and request the information so she can share it with you. And if you haven't suggested to Jessica's mother that her daughter should be put on long-acting birth control, I think the time has come.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety | Teens