The health and well-being of patients depends on a collaborative effort between patient and physician in a mutually respectful alliance. Patients contribute to this alliance when they fulfill responsibilities they have, to seek care and to be candid with their physicians.
Physicians can best contribute to a mutually respectful alliance with patients by serving as their patients’ advocates and by respecting patients’ rights. These include the right:
1. To courtesy, respect, dignity, and timely, responsive attention to his or her needs.
2. To receive information from their physicians and to have the opportunity to discuss the benefits, risks, and costs of appropriate treatment alternatives, including the risks, benefits and costs of forgoing treatment. Patients should be able to expect that their physicians will provide guidance about what they consider the optimal course of action for the patient based on the physician’s objective professional judgment.
3. To ask questions about their health status or recommended treatment when they do not fully understand what has been described and to have their questions answered.
4. To make decisions about the care the physician recommends and to have those decisions respected. A patient who has decision-making capacity may accept or refuse any recommended medical intervention.
5. To have the physician and other staff respect the patient’s privacy and confidentiality.
6. To obtain copies or summaries of their medical records.
7. To obtain a second opinion.
8. To be advised of any conflicts of interest their physician may have in respect to their care.
9. To continuity of care. Patients should be able to expect that their physician will cooperate in coordinating medically indicated care with other health care professionals, and that the physician will not discontinue treating them when further treatment is medically indicated without giving them sufficient notice and reasonable assistance in making alternative arrangements for care.
A patient has the right to respectful care given by competent workers.
A patient has the right to know the names and the jobs of his or her caregivers.
A patient has the right to privacy with respect to his or her medical condition. A patient’s care and treatment will be discussed only with those who need to know.
A patient has the right to have his or her medical records treated as confidential and read only by people with a need to know. Information about a patient will be released only with permission from the patient or as required by law.
A patient has the right to request amendments to and obtain information on disclosures of his or her health information, in accordance with law and regulation.
A patient has the right to know what facility rules and regulations apply to his or her conduct as a patient.
A patient has the right to have emergency procedures done without unnecessary delay.
A patient has the right to good quality care and high professional standards that are continually maintained and reviewed.
A patient has the right to make informed decisions regarding his or her care and has the right to include family members in those decisions.
A patient has the right to information from his or her doctor in order to make informed decisions about his or her care. This means that patients will be given information about their diagnosis, prognosis, and different treatment choices. This information will be given in terms that the patient can understand. This may not be possible in an emergency.
A patient has the right to refuse any drugs, treatment or procedures to the extent permitted by law after hearing the medical consequences of refusing the drug, treatment or procedure.
A patient has the right to have help getting another doctor’s opinion at his or her request and expense.
A patient has the right to care without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, or source of payment.
A patient has the right to be given information in a manner that he or she can understand. A patient who does not speak English, or is hearing or speech impaired, has the right to an interpreter, when possible.
Upon request, a patient has the right to access all information contained in the patient’s medical records within a reasonable timeframe. This access may be restricted by the patient’s doctor only for sound medical reasons. A patient has the right to have information in the medical record explained to him or her.
A patient has the right not to be awakened by staff unless it is medically necessary.
A patient has the right to be free from needless duplication of medical and nursing procedures.
A patient has the right to treatment that avoids unnecessary discomfort.
A patient has the right to be transferred to another facility only after care and arrangements have been made and the patient has been given complete information about the hospital’s obligations under law.
A patient has the right to a copy of his or her bills. A patient also has the right to have the bill explained.
A patient has the right to request help in finding ways to pay his or her medical bills.
A patient has the right to help in planning for his or her discharge so that he or she will know about continuing health care needs after discharge and how to meet them.
A patient has the right to access people or agencies to act on the patient’s behalf or to protect the patient’s right under law. A patient has the right to have protective services contacted when he or she or the patient’s family members are concerned about safety.
A patient has the right to be informed of his or her rights at the earliest possible time in the course of his or her treatment.
A patient has the right to make advance directives (such as a living will, health care power of attorney and advance instruction for mental health treatment) and to have those directives followed to the extent permitted by law.
A patient has the right to personal privacy and to receive care in a safe and secure setting.
A Medicare patient has the right to appeal decisions about his or her care to a local Medicare Review Board. The Facility will provide the name, address, and phone number of the local Medicare Review Board and information about filing an appeal.
A patient has the right to be free from all forms of abuse or harassment.
A patient has the right to be free from the use of seclusion and restraint, unless medically authorized by the physician. Restraints and seclusion will be used only as a last resort and in the least restrictive manner possible to protect the patient or others from harm and will be removed or ended at the earliest possible time.
A patient has the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient’s immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient.
A patient has the right to pastoral care and other spiritual services.
A patient has the right to be involved in resolving dilemmas about care decisions.
A patient has the right to have his or her complaints about care resolved.
A patient and his or her family have the right to request assistance from the Nash Hospitals, Inc ad hoc ethics committee for ethical issues, such as starting or stopping treatments to keep patients alive, differences of opinion or when advance directives cannot be honored.
The patient has the right to appropriate pain management.
A patient has the right to be free from financial exploitation by the health care facility.
Children and adolescents
The family/guardian of a child or adolescent patient has the right and responsibility to be involved in decisions about the care of the child. A child or adolescent has the right to have his or her wishes considered in the decision-making as limited by law.
A child or adolescent patient has the right to expect that care and the physical environment will be appropriate to his or her age, size, and
A child or adolescent patient whose treatment requires a long absence from school has the right to education services. These services will be arranged with the local school system.
Patients are responsible for providing correct and complete information about their health and past medical history.
Patients are responsible for reporting changes in their general health condition, symptoms, or allergies to the responsible caregiver.
Patients are responsible for reporting if they do not understand the planned treatment or their part in the plan.
Patients are responsible for following the recommended treatment plan they have agreed to, including instruction from nurses and other
Patients are responsible for keeping appointments.
Patients are responsible for treating others with respect.
Patients are responsible for following facility rules regarding smoking, noise, and use of electrical equipment.
Patients are responsible for what happens if they refuse the planned treatment.
Patients are responsible for paying for their care.
Patients are responsible for respecting the property and rights of others.
Patients are responsible for assisting in the control of noise and the number of visitors in their rooms
Discrimination and disruptive behavior by patients medical ethics
Opinion: The relationship between patients and physicians is based on trust and should serve to promote patients’ well-being while respecting the dignity and rights of both patients and physicians.
Trust can be established and maintained only when there is mutual respect. Therefore, in their interactions with patients, physicians should:
Physicians should identify, appreciate, and address potentially treatable clinical conditions or personal experiences that influence patient behavior. Regardless of cause, when a patient’s behavior threatens the safety of health care personnel or other patients, steps should be taken to de-escalate or remove the threat.