Legal rights of patients in India
In these hard times of the Corona crisis, when hospitals are flooded with patients, every Indian citizen should know the legal rights of patients in India. (As per the draft released by the NHRC)
- Every doctor must keep private details regarding the medical condition of the patient confidential unless required for public welfare.
- Every patient has a right to be informed about his illness, diagnosis and all the possible complications in a language understood by him/her. Note – In case, the patient is not in a condition to understand all this, then the doctors are bound to give all this information to the caretaker.
- Every patient has the right to emergency medical care in any government or private hospital without having to pay any upfront or advance fees. It should be delivered immediately without compromising the quality and safety of the patient.
- No patient can be detained in the hospital for non-payment of dues. He has a right to be discharged from the hospital. Note – Similarly, a caretaker has the right to receive the body of the deceased from the hospital even if there is non-payment of dues.
- Every patient shall be given treatment in a hospital irrespective of caste, color, sex, religion, age, language, geographical origin, illness, or HIV status.
- A doctor must explain the risks, consequences, and procedures involved in surgery to the patient/caretaker in a language understood by them.
- A patient or caretaker has the right to choose a pharmacy for his/her medical supplies or a laboratory (which must be registered with the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories) for doing the investigation procedures like blood tests.
- It is the right of every female patient to demand the presence of another female person during a physical examination by a male practitioner.
- In case you are in doubt about the treatment prescribed, you have the right to seek a second opinion from a specialist. Note – The hospital management must provide all necessary information to the caretaker required to get a second opinion without any additional cost or delay.
Legal rights of patients in India to receive:
- medicines at the rate prescribed by the NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.
- a written account of all the expenses that will be incurred during the treatment.
- The identity and other personal details of a person participating in clinical trials should be kept confidential.
- A patient participating in clinical trials should be given a written prescription of the drugs involved in the trial. (Amended Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules)
- A patient can’t be transferred from one hospital to another without giving a proper justification to the caretaker and a proper list of medicines that would continue after the transfer. Note – The transfer of the patient can’t be done if the caretaker rejects it.
What are some other Legal rights of patients in India as per the draft of the NHRC?
- Right to be heard and seek redressal
- Right to Patient Education
- Right to standard-compliant safety and quality care
- Right to alternative treatment options if they are available;
- Right to records and reports
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