According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patients’ rights are those owed to the patient as a human being, by physicians and the state. These rights vary in various countries and are affected by various factors such as status, family, society, etc. When we consider the status in India with respect to the patients’ rights, there is a Code of Ethics Regulations (COER) which tells about the duties and responsibilities of physicians with less emphasis on patients’ rights. Thus the COER represents much of duty centric approach rather than right centric approach. When we talk about patients’ rights, the approach should be right centric. To overcome this, the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) has enlisted eight specific patients’ rights on it’s website out of which top six rights will be discussed in this article. It includes
1. Right to Medical Treatment
The patient has the right to receive the medical treatment which fully meets the current accepted standards of health care. In addition to this, the patient shall be treated with utmost care, respect and dignity without any discrimination.
2. Right to Information
This includes the right of the patient to know about the identity and professional status of the physician involved in treating the patient. This also includes the right to be given a clear description about the patient’s illness, explanation of medical records and to be made aware about the various treatments available to treat a particular ailment. In addition to this, the patient should be told about the associated risks with the treatment.
3. Right to Choices
This includes the right of a patient to accept or deny a treatment or a surgical procedures. Accordingly, the patient has the right to refuse to be a part of medical research programs.
4. Right to Privacy
This includes the confidentiality of patients’ information. Thus, it’s the bounded duty of the medical personnel to protect this right of the patient by keeping all the information about the patient’s medical condition confidential.
5. Right to Complaint
It includes the right of the patient to complain the hospital authorities through a proper channel in case of any discrepancies in the treatment.
6. Right to Health Education
This includes the right of a patient to know about various aspects of health care to maintain a healthy life.
Despite the rights have been given, these are hardly implemented and are not given much importance. But protection of rights of the patient is very important and this can be achieved by taking proper steps and its the bounded duty of the the Medical Council to help this to be achieved.