Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Patients Rights

In the United States, our government has declared that all patients (including pregnant ones) have certain rights.

  1. You have the right to all your medical records. This means copies of all doctor and nurse notes, test results, and any other documents related to you.
  2. You have the right to privacy of your records. A medical care provider may not share your information with anyone without your express consent except anyone who pays the bill (insurance companies, HMO, employer pay programs, medicaid, medicare, etc) has the right to look at what they are paying for (ALL your records).
  3. You have the right to choice of what treatment you will receive. This also means you have the right to refuse any treatment you don't wnat to receive. Did you know that this means you don't have to allow the doctor's office to weigh you? Now, if he is prescribing medicine he needs to know your weight so he can give you the right amount, but otherwise, it may not be relavent to your treatment and you can legally say "No thank you." This right changes if you have been ruled mentally ill which is why many people write down their wishes for the end of their lives before they get there.
  4. You have the right to informed consent. This means it is your right as an American Citizen (and as a human being) to be told the truth about all the risks and benifits of every procedure, test, and action taken regarding your health. If your doctor tells you the risks of Pitocin but only the good things of Cytotec, your rights have been violated. If you doctor tells you some babies die if allowed to go to 41 weeks gestation but doesn't tell you the risks of an induction, your rights have been violated. If your doctor tells you you have been in labor "too long" and you need a c-section but doesn't explain the acctual risk of waiting longer (and I don't mean yelling "YOUR BABY might DIE!") AND the risks of a c-section your rights have been violated. If you do not understand what is being explained to you you have the right to an interpreter or a better explination.
  5. You have the right to choose what intervention you will recieve at the end of your life. This includes feeding tubes and resucitations.

You also have certain responsibilities.
  1. We have a responsibility to the Giver of Life to take care of that life. We need to choose to live as healthfully as possible.Yes, this means exercise, get fresh air, drink lots of water, plenty of rest, lots of veggies, whole grains and watch the sugars, bad fats, and processed foods.
  2. We must be respectful. Not doormats. Not rag dolls. Not LaLaLand Ladies. Respectful. No yelling, cussing, hatefull tones of voices. No unrealistic expectations (doctors and nurses are human afterall). We can stand up for our rights and be firm, even forceful, without being rude.Of course, sometimes you have to be forceful enough the other party might think you are being rude. Act like you will answer to God for how you act, because you will.
  3. We must be honest. A care-provider cannot help you if you lie to them or withold information. Little things like what suplements or vitamins you are taking can make a difference in what treatment you need. If you are, for example, taking dandilion root every day but your doctor doesn't know it, he may prescribe too much insulin for you. Always tell them what is going on.
  4. We must do what we agree to do. If you agree to the treatment plan your doctor lays out, you must follow it. This is only right.
  5. We must be prepared for emergancies. We all need to keep a list with us at all times of what medications, supplements, vitamins and herbs we are taking and any medical treatment we are receiving so that if we were to end up in an emergancy room the staff will know how to care for us. It is a good idea to keep spare meds in your vehicle incase of evacuation, too. (Can you tell I live in wild fire country?)
  6. We must not be gullible. "100% of people who ate carrots in the year 1900 have DIED!" Be careful what you believe. Everything is not the truth as presented whether it is in the main-stream media or an alternative source. Check it out!
  7. Make decisions with your brain, not your emotions.
  8. We must know our drugs. Read your doctor's priscription and compare it with what the pharmacist gives you (including the dosage). People have died form getting the wrong medicine. Be sure you understand how to take it and what all the side effects are.
  9. We must make sure your bills get paid. No one likes to be cheated. Taking services you do not pay for is stealing.
  10. Report fraud. See above.
  11. Treat others the way you want to be treated.  You get upset if someone passes a cold on to you who abviously knows they should have stayed home in bed. Treat them the same way. Stay home when you are sick.
Rights we DON'T have.
  1. The Right to medical care. You won't find these in the Constitution (the foundational law of our land) or the Bible (the foundational law of the universe) no matter how hard you look. The US government has passed a law that no public hospital may turn away any patient even without insurance, but this is not the same as a right to treatment. It is the government generously using our tax dollars to pay other people's bills (something most of us actually don't object to except that we don't think it's good for our health for the government to have that much power).
Whenever you go into a hospital or deal with a care provider it is important to know your rights. It even more important when you and your baby are both on the line.

Remember, be nice. Not a wimp, but polite.

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