In a hospital, you are not in control. You have to go where they send you and do what they say. But that doesn’t mean you’re without rights. Knowing the basics of your legal rights can help put some power back into your hands, and make your stay more tolerable. Starting with your basic rights as a patient, you should be aware of the terms and conditions of offered services the medical facility includes. In this article, we will go over the most important legal rights a hospital patient has.
As a patient, you have the right to know who is in charge of your care and be able to contact them at any time. Wichita Medical Malpractice Lawyers explain that this person is often called “the next of kin,” and can be anyone-even a friend or sibling – who happens to live close by. You also have the right, if you want it, to ask for more than one next of kin on your admission paperwork. But it’s important to understand that hospitals usually can’t put someone else down as your next of kin unless they’re blood relatives or spouses.
One of the most important rights you have as a hospital patient is privacy and confidentiality. This means that all information shared with hospital staff must be kept private and confidential. This includes everything from your medical records to the conversations you have with doctors and nurses. It’s important to feel comfortable sharing all of your information with hospital staff, knowing that it will not be revealed to anyone without your consent.
In any case, if the attending doctor or other medical staff refuses to provide you with information about the progress and course of your treatment, you are also entitled to receive a copy of your medical records, including the pathology and radiology reports.
You also have the right to refuse treatment if it goes against your beliefs-this is called “conscience refusal” and it’s very important for anyone who has deep personal convictions against a procedure. For example, some religions do not allow blood transfusions. If you wish to receive a transfusion but a family member or spouse doesn’t agree, contact your doctor immediately. It may also be possible to find another facility that will perform the procedure for you.
In case you do not feel safe or satisfied with the care being provided, remember that you are always entitled to a second opinion. One of the biggest complaints about hospitals is that sometimes a patient can feel forced or even tricked into accepting treatment. This is illegal and you have the right to request a second opinion from another doctor before going through with any plan of treatment. It’s important to understand, though, that you should never prevent the first doctor from continuing to treat you while you wait for the second opinion.
Hospitals are not allowed to share your medical information with anyone, including family members who are not blood relatives or spouses without getting your written consent. This is called “patient confidentiality.” There is a number of reasons why the practice is like that, mainly because certain individuals don’t feel comfortable discussing their health issues with the closest family members. It is your right to decline sharing information about pregnancy, any minor procedures, or treatments. However, there are cases that the medical staff is required to report the issues to the local authorities. This applies particularly if there is justified doubt that a minor is suffering any form of abuse, the patient is threatened and there is an external culprit that caused your medical conditions. The hospital is allowed to report your injuries to the police if any type of accident occurs.
You can make healthcare choices for yourself unless you are deemed “incompetent” by a medical professional. Even if you are incompetent due to mental illness or age (or any other reason), you still have the right to have your wishes documented and followed as closely as possible. This is called a “living will. “It ensures decency to the patient and is obligatory for the caretaker and the medical staff to be executed as much as possible.
If you’re uninsured or can’t afford to pay your hospital bill, don’t worry, the hospital can’t refuse you care because of that. They are allowed to ask for payment once you’re discharged, but they can’t turn you away if you can’t pay.
You also have the right to choose who can visit you and when. You can also choose to have no visitors if you’re not feeling well. If you do decide to allow visitors, overnight visits are usually limited to family members and spouses only. If you’re not feeling well enough for visitors at all, your hospital may require that they leave by a certain time every day, be sure to ask about this when you check-in.
Hospitals are a scary place for many people. But it’s important to remember that you have legal rights as a patient. Your main goal should be to maintain good health and focus on getting out of the hospital as soon as possible, but it’s also important to understand your rights so that you can feel more comfortable during your stay.