Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Patient's Bill of Rights

In view of the ongoing strike of medical residents in Bombay, Karmayog, an organisation in Bombay, is proposing a Patients’ Bill of Rights , which should be displayed on every floor of every public and private medical care facility.

" To have a list of exact services available and corresponding fees (for supplies and bandages, etc.)
. To have a visible map of the hospital (in Marathi, Hindi, English, and other languages)
· To know and understand the procedures involved
· To be given a reasonable time frame for the treatment
. To know all the costs associated with seeking medical care
· To receive prompt and courteous care
· To be informed about the documentation needed for treatment.
· To have minimal documentation for emergency cases.
· To get Reproductive and Child Health Services free of cost at Public Health facilities.
· To receive medications and vaccinations from the local Public Health post or dispensary.
· To get medical services which are within the capability of the medical facility.
· To obtain from the doctor complete information concerning the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis in language the patient can understand.
· To receive necessary information from the doctor such as long-term effects, side-effects, etc. before giving any prior consent to a medical procedure and/or treatment.
· To refuse the suggested treatment and be informed of the medical consequences thereof.
·To receive medical care in well-equipped and sanitised conditions.
·To receive quality care from competent medical professionals.
· To be able to select doctors of one’s choice when possible.
· To privacy during medical check-ups.
· To be assured that all communication and records will be kept confidential
· To educational information about medical problems eg. via a library, IEC materials, etc.
· To be enabled to pay hospital fees on a payment plan
· To have access to a non-hospital staff member appointed to address complaints as soon as possible.
· To have the contact information of responsible person (both at hospital and BMC office) to register a complaint or give feedback.
·To have adequate waiting space.

I applaud this initiative - these are reasonable requests.

However, there should also be a list of Patient's Responsibilities and Duties !

- You should provide your doctor with accurate and complete information about your medical history, past illnesses, allergies, hospitalizations and medications.
- You should report changes in your condition (however minor they may seem to you) to your doctor - don't keep him in the dark!
- If you do not understand what your doctor says or wants you to do, you should let him know without any hesitation!
- You should follow your doctor's treatment plan.
- You should keep your appointments on schedule, and if you cannot do so for any reason, let your doctor know well in advance.
- You should pay your medical bills promptly!
- You should follow hospital rules and regulations without fail.
- You should have realistic expectations of what the doctor can do for you. Everyone would like to get well completely, but one should always bear in mind that the doctor is not a miracle worker.
- You should help your doctor to help you! If you cannot stick to a particular treatment plan, let your doctor know, so that he can formulate an alternative plan.
- You should maintain good health habits.
- You should participate actively in your medical care. Patients who are highly motivated get better faster: in other words, help your body to heal itself!
- You should ask questions to clarify any doubts or dispel any misconceptions in your mind. A doctor or nurse may not know when you're confused, uncertain or just want more information. Therefore, do not refrain from asking questions.
- You should respect the doctors and the nurses. The medical staff deserve your respect and courtesy: treat them the way you would like to be treated by them!
- You should not ask for false medical certificates or padded medical bills (in order to get additional reimbursement).

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