No matter your race, ethnicity, color, sexual orientation, or creed, you have a legal right to quality medical care. Unfortunately, there are too many occasions where patient rights are trampled without repercussions because the patient simply doesn’t know their own power.
Don’t be that patient. Take the time to educate yourself, and go forth knowing what you are due. Read through this brief look at a few of your legal rights as a patient, and make sure you’re getting the care you deserve.
Right to informed consent
As a patient, you have the legal right to really understand what the doctor is saying about your health. You have the right to know all the information possible about a procedure before you give consent to have it done.
Right to make decisions concerning your treatment
The right to make decisions goes along with the right to informed consent. You can’t make a good decision about your treatment if you don’t have all the information.
If the doctor amputates without your consent, for example, there are some serious legal implications that will follow. Your body is your own, and the law protects you in that capacity.
Right to be treated with respect
Every patient has the right to be treated respectfully at every stage of treatment. If you come into a doctor’s office in your PJs, the medical professionals do not have the right to treat you any differently than the last patient. If you are poor, you still have the legal right to respect from medical professionals. Never settle for less.
Right to your medical records
If you ever need to take a look for yourself, you have the right to see any and all of your medical records at any given point in time. Anything pertaining to your physical health is always free to access. However, you must provide written consent for anyone else to access your personal medical records.
Right to privacy
You have a right to privacy, on the flipside. Though you are free to access your medical records, no one else has that right. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws explicitly provide privacy for all patients.
Right to refuse treatment altogether
If you find yourself in a situation where you do not want medical treatment for an injury, you have the right to tell medical professionals no. You may not be making the wisest decision concerning your health, but it is your legal right to refuse care.
Right to make end-of-life decisions
If you’re nearing the end of your life, you have the right to make choices. You can choose to be an organ donor, you can choose to sign a DNR (do not resuscitate), and make other decisions regarding the end of your life.