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What are my Rights as a Patient?

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Anytime you request to be evaluated by a health “professional” you are considered a patient. Subsequently, your interaction with the medic is subject to specific ethical and legal rules of conduct. Medical caregivers generally include insurance agencies, medical professionals, healthcare facilities and primary caregivers.


Due to the evolving nature of medical needs, diseases, and medical technology, your rights as a patient continues to evolve as far as patient dignity, confidentiality, right to information, consent to treatment, and care are concerned. Your rights as a patient also vary from hospital to hospital, state to state, the nature of your ailment, and the medical processes involved.


These are the 4 main rights of a patient:

  1. Confidentiality

Both the law, for example in the case of Asbestos Lawsuit Attorneys, as well as the AMA medical ethics, requires that during your interaction with the doctor, all divulged information remains confidential unless consented otherwise.

There are ethical, medical, legal, and social considerations that warrant as exceptions to this confidentiality rule. Physicians are bound by the rules of privacy and confidentiality especially if the release of such information may precipitate embarrassment, harassment, discrimination or stigmatization of the patient.

2. Right to Information

The code of medical ethics stipulates that it is a fundamental requirement for a physician to openly communicate with you as the patient with a view of advising, informing and equipping you regarding the ailment.

It's the physician's responsibility to divulge all possible aspects of conditions in ways that you will not thereafter harbor any mistaken belief about it. The scope of information includes the physician's qualification, the nature of the disease, possible remedies, and the medic's ability to treat the condition or refer the patient to a specialist.

3. Informed Consent

Once equipped with all the information necessary to make a decision, you as the patient have to reach a conclusion based on the understanding of the following facts. What the doctor is proposing, the nature and purpose of the treatment, possible side effects, the risk involved and any other alternatives out there including the cost implications for each. The patient also has to be informed regarding the intended effects and benefits of the remedy chosen by the medic.

4. The Right to Healthcare

While the public generally agrees on a fundamental right to treatment, the specifics of the healthcare rights remains to be a charged debate especially as access, affordability, the legal duty of health workers, medical malpractices, and scope of insurance cover is concerned.

The right to healthcare is the most controvertible given the impact of race, economics, status, and gender on the ability to access quality health services in both public and private health facilities.

In the end, the many aspects of your rights as a patient are covered both by the law and the medical ethics. Always keep in mind that it is your right and duty to ask for clarification on any aspects of your treatment that aren't clear before proceeding with it. You have a right to legal representation anytime your rights as a patient have been breached or violated.