Health Care Ethics

The basic rights of human beings, such as concern for personal dignity, are always of great importance. During illness, however, these rights are extremely vital and must be protected. Therefore, healthcare providers should make an effort to assure that these rights are preserved for their patients. Likewise, health care providers have the right to expect reasonable and responsible behavior on the part of our patients, their relatives, and friends. This is where the patient’s bill of rights comes into play. The Patient’s Bill of Rights was first adopted by the American Hospital Association (AHA) in 1973 and revised in October 1992.

Patient rights were developed with the expectation that it would contribute to more effective patient care. It aids the patients and their families to understand their rights and responsibilities (Edge et al, 1998). In theory, once one understood the right, one should be able to reason out the correlative obligations. Below are two obligations to each of the items found in the patient’s bill of rights. Respect and Dignity. 1. Respect the dignity of the patient by being considerate and caring 2. Do not discriminate based on sex, race or religion, etc. Identity 1. Hospital staff should wear name badges to identify themselves.

2. Staff members should introduce themselves to you and describe their roles before care is given. Participation in Treatment Decisions 1. Provide the patients with their treatment option 2. Allow the patient to participate in the treatment options available Advanced Directive 1. Advice patients of their rights to make informed medical choices, ask if the patient has an advance directive. 2. Honor the wishes of the patient as stated in his/her directive as permitted by law and hospital policy.

Privacy 1. Do not disclose information about the patient’s case to others without first obtaining written consent. 2. Avoid discussions about patients in public areas such as hallways andelevators Confidentiality 1. Protect the confidentiality of the patient’s information and records by storing them in a safe and secure place 2. Avoid discussing personal information with others without the signed consent of the patient. Review of Records 1. On request, allow the patient access to their medical record.

2. Identify the person making the request to ensure that the information is not mistakenly disclosed to another individual. Request and Transfers 1. Provide prompt response to any request providing the request is appropriate.

2. Transfer patient to another facility upon request providing receiving facility accepts patient. 9. Institution Affiliations 1. Inform patient of other health care and educational institutions that the hospital has authorized to participate in the patient’s treatment. 2. Upon request, provide information on business hospital does business with if it pertains to patient care (medical supplies etc) Consent 1. Provide easily understood information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any procedure or treatment.

2. Inform patient of any experimental or other research/educational projects that may be used in his or her treatment. If patient refuses care, inform them of the consequences. 11. Continuity of Care 1. Provide patient with appointment times to see physician after release from medical facilities (hospitals, clinics) 2. Provide treatment plan for patient to follow after discharge. Information 1. Provide accurate and easily understood information about your health plan, health care professionals, and health care facilities.

2. Provide an explanation of patient’s bill for services rendered. Which of the included patient’s rights are currently provided in the sanction of law? To the best of my knowledge, the AHA Patient’s Bill of Rights are not sanctioned in law, they are ethical standards, but not law. The AHA says this: Health care institutions, by virtue of their roles as health care providers, employers, and community health resources, have special responsibilities for ethical conduct and ethical practices that go beyond meeting minimum legal and regulatory standards.

Their broad range of patient care, education, public health, social service, and business functions is essential to the health and well being of their communities. These roles and functions demand that health care organizations conduct themselves in an ethical manner that emphasizes a basic community service orientation and justifies the public trust. The health care institution’s mission and values should be embodied in all its programs, services, and activities (Ethical Conduct for Health Care Institutions, 1992).

So although the patient can sue for malpractice, it will be based on laws related to the ethical principles, but not the Ethical Principles themselves. For example, if a patient feels that they were treated differently because of race, they would file a discrimination suit, which is legally sanctioned under other legal legislature. It seems quite complicated, but it is important to recognize the difference between ethics and the law. Ethical complaints (i. e. , the nurse did not treat me with respect) goes before a hospital disciplinary panel, but not before the legal courts.

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