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What rights does a patient have?

When Pottsville residents are not treated properly by others, it is important to know what rights the person may have, particularly when the improper treatment causes harm to the individual. When individuals are made aware of their rights, it can spur them to take action to correct the situation or hold the other person accountable.

In the medical world, patients have a number of rights they may or may not be aware of. These patient rights are enshrined in Pennsylvania law, along with certain requirements for medical facilities to safeguard the interests of patients.

For instance, mothers have a number of rights when they are being treated in birthing centers. Mothers have a right to expect and receive good quality care and high professional standards, which is not always the case when birth injuries occur. Mothers also have the right to receive answers to the questions they have regarding their treatment, as well as the right to confidentiality and to be treated with respect.

When medical treatment is under consideration, patients have the right to have a discussion of the treatment, including the nature and expected effects of the treatment. Patients can also refuse treatment and review their medical records. And when it comes to seeing a doctor, patients have the right to have contact with a physician or nurse under the policies of the birth center.

There is often a significant overlap between a violation of a patient's rights and hospital negligence. For example, the health care facility may provide subpar treatment or fail to communicate necessary information to the patient, which can be not only a violation of the patient's rights, but a violation of the duty of care that must be proven for a medical malpractice claim. Accordingly, when things go wrong in medical treatment, injured patients should not only understand their rights, but what legal claims they have available to hold the doctor or facility responsible.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, "501.46 Patient's rights," accessed on Oct. 17, 2015

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Pottsville, PA 17901

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