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Three things to uphold your rights as a patient

When patients go to the hospital, they know that doctors go through years of training and they have specific knowledge about how ailments and diseases are caused and treated. However, there are some instances where your experience and training may not lead to an exact prognosis. Rather, a range of treatments may be available. Indeed, prudent physicians take the patient through their thought process because they think patients may not understand medical terminology.

But solid communication goes beyond explaining medical terms. It sets the foundation for upholding patients’ rights. To that end, physicians should be wary of the following in protecting their patients:

Patients should know their medical history – Regardless of how often the patient has been to the hospital, they should have a good understanding of their medical history. This is especially important if they have had ailments in the past that could contribute to a current one.  

Encourage patients to ask questions – Doctors are supposed to reduce complicated medical terms into plain English that everyone can understand. This is especially important when the patient needs to know the risks of a particular procedure. So patients should not be afraid of asking questions. The only “dumb” question is the question that is not asked.

Don’t rule out a second opinion – Different doctors may have different approaches to a problem. So if a patient has doubts about your recommendations, it may be worth seeking another opinion.  It may be worthwhile to discover the differences in approaches.

The preceding is not legal advice. 

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