Of all the civil and personal rights that an individual has in our society, those pertaining to their medical care are perhaps the least understood. It’s a fair assumption to say that the majority of people don’t have a solid grasp of what their own medical rights are. However, given the nature of receiving medical treatment, that it tends to happen during a particularly tough time in one’s life, it is important to be well-armed in these matters before something happens to you. With that in mind, it might be worth delving into a few of the medical rights that you have as a citizen.
As a patient, you have a legal and moral right to know everything that might be relevant as it pertains to your condition or likely future condition. You are entitled to know everything that might go wrong, all of the possible treatments there are – along with their noted side effects – and anything at all that might affect you or the treatment that you are likely to receive. This is known as informed consent, and it is a bedrock of medical care in the Western world. As well as all this, it also includes the right to be informed of any alternative therapies or medicines that might be expected to work for you in your current condition.
Right To Refuse
Just as importantly, you also have the right to refuse any treatment that a doctor or other medical professional might suggest you undergo. Of course, your doctor might feel that you are making a mistake in doing so, and they are only doing their job to the best of their abilities if they repeatedly stress that they feel you are doing the wrong thing. Usually, it’s wise to listen to them in such cases. But the important thing is that you still always have the right to refuse treatment of any kind. Someone who is particularly concerned with enforcing this right might be keen to look at this WillTemplates example of a living will.
In most parts of the Western world, you also have the right to view your medical records at any time, free of charge. You should be able to do this at any medical practice which is holding your records, and you should be able to ask for them to alter any information that you know to be incorrect – that usually pertains to your name, date of birth, address, or other information of this nature, rather than your medical history. The important thing to note is that you are always legally able to view your own medical records, in full, for no cost whatsoever – although you must allow a period of twenty-four hours for a medical practice to respond to your request.
These are just three of the important medical rights that you have as a patient and as a citizen. The more you know about this stuff, the more informed you can be when you receive treatment, so it is good to know.