Knowing your rights as a patient is the first step towards making sure they are respected without question. That way, you will be better equipped to protect yourself and your family from negligence and malpractice of doctors and other medical staff. Let’s explore the main rights you should always be aware of as a patient:
Informed consent and your right to refuse a treatment
You are within your rights to refuse a treatment and go against your doctor’s judgment if you believe it’s not the best course of action to take. The same goes for denying your doctor to treat your kids if you’re their parent or legal guardian. Whenever you believe you should be seeking out a second opinion, do not hesitate to do so.
Your privacy needs to be protected at all times, which means you should be asking questions such as with whom your medical case will be discussed, who will be notified of your medical condition, what are the implications of a certain diagnosis, etc. But generally speaking, your health is a personal matter, and not having the details surrounding it disclosed to a third party goes hand in hand with this. The only exception is sharing this type of information with the so-called ‘circle of care’, which refers to other medical professionals.
You are allowed to review your medical records
No matter what the medical staff might be suggesting, in the eyes of the law, you are allowed to review your medical records at any time you see fit. Not only that; you are also within your rights to have them interpreted or explained to you.
Transparency of hospital practices
Hospital practices and policies should be transparent, especially when it comes to patient care. You are also within your rights to know how much you’re going to be charged for their services at all times. Apart from that, the identity of those who are treating you, as well as the medical staff, should always remain transparent as well.
Chances of treatment success and possible complications
If you’re pondering whether you should undergo a certain type of treatment, you can ask about the chances of it being successful, and whoever is treating you must comply with your request. You are also allowed to be in the know if something can go wrong and what are the chances of that happening.
You can decline taking part in research studies
Sometimes, a hospital will do research studies on its patients or perform other forms of human experimentation. You have the right to be informed of this and decline to participate if you decide this is against your best interests.
The proper way to handle negligence and malpractice
No matter how well-versed you might be when dealing with legal matters, certified attorneys are professionals who are always there for you should you need help with medical malpractice. If you believe you’ve been wronged in any way, do not hesitate to seek out their services, because too much is at stake to risk going at it alone.
Of course, there are other rights you have as a patient, but covering all of them is clearly beyond the scope of this article. Either way, the most important thing is to keep educating yourself on the subject and not being afraid to seek out legal aid whenever you believe you’d benefit from a lawyer representing you.