Many of us are ignorant of our rights and responsibilities when we become the patients or when we accompany the patients to hospitals and clinics. This article which was featured in Cityplus September 9-, September 15, 2001 is an eyeopener as it throws light on many things for a patient.
Dr Jyotsna Codaty, a doctor with nearly 40 years experience having served in the Ministry of Defence in various military hospitals across the country including the Ministry of Labour (ESIC Hospitals), Chennai, and a few stints abroad, spoke to Cityplus on the rights and responsibilities of patients, about which most of us do not know.
Presently she is working with Fortis Healthcare at Chennai. Her husband is a retired Indian Air Force Pilot.
Besides this, she has also published/authored three books and over a hundred articles related to medicine, for which she travelled all over India and interacted with several doctors.
"This has given me a wide-angle view of the practice of medicine and the few areas like awareness that one can work on," she says. "I find that a much better rapport can be built between doctors and patients; my website www.letstalkdoc.com attempts to do just this.
It is a free non-commercial website whose only idea is to spread health awareness and make a friendly conduit between doctors and patients. There are over 80 doctors registered on the website.
In our country, most persons (both patients and doctors) are unaware or do not take seriously the fact that patients have rights and responsibilities when it comes to medical care. With the advent of medical tourism and many doctors coming back after living abroad for years, adherence to international standards and protocol has become increasingly important. Most hospitals have them as "give-outs" at the time of admission or posted at various locations in the hospital. The big question is, who is following them?
RIGHTS OF THE PATIENTS:
* Right to considerate and respectful care.
* Right to information on diagnosis, treatment and medicines.
* Right to obtain all the relevant information about the professionals involved in the patient care.
* Right to expect that all the communications and records pertaining to his/her case be treated as confidential.
* Right to every consideration of his/her privacy concerning his/her medical care programme.
* Right to expect prompt treatment in an emergency.
* Right to refuse to participate in human experimentation, research, project affecting his/her care or treatment.
* Right to get copies of medical records.
* Right to know what hospital rules and regulations apply to him/her as a patient and the facilities obtainable to the patient.
* Right to get details of the bill.
* Right to seek second opinion about his/her disease, treatment, etc.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF PATIENTS:
* To faithfully undergo the agreed therapy.
* To follow the doctors' instructions diligently.
* To take necessary preventive measures in case of infectious diseases as per the doctors instructions.
* To be aware that doctors and nurses are also human beings and are amenable to mistakes and lapses.
* To make the payment for the treatment, wherever applicable, to the doctors/hospital promptly.
* To respect the autonomy of the doctors and nurses.
* To treat doctors and nurses with respect.
* To be punctual to attend the clinics/hospital/dispensary for the treatment at the given time.
* To preserve all the records of one's illness.
* To keep the doctor informed if the patient wants to change the hospital/doctor.