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What rights do I have about the medical care that I receive?

You have a variety of legal rights relating to the medical care and treatment that you receive from your doctor, a hospital, or any facility.

Among these rights are:

  • The right to be informed about a recommended treatment
  • The right to consent to or refuse treatment
  • The right to privacy in terms of your medical information and records

Your Right to Be Informed

You have the legal right to be provided certain information about the treatment a medical professional recommends for your illness, injury, or medical condition.

For instance, if your doctor recommends that you take a particular medication, you have the right to information about:

  • Why your healthcare provider has chosen the drug
  • Potential side effects
  • Dosage information
  • How it will affect your medical condition
  • The likelihood that it will successfully treat your medical condition

Likewise, if your healthcare provider recommends that you undergo a surgical procedure, you have the right to information about:

  • The duration of the surgery
  • Necessary surgical preparations
  • Likely results of the surgery
  • Any possible complications from the surgery
  • Potential consequences if you choose not to have the surgery
  • Expected recovery time

Essentially, you are entitled to all of the necessary information about the course of treatment that your healthcare provider recommends, as well as any additional information that you might request.

The Right to Refuse Treatment

As long as you are not mentally incapacitated, you have the right to make decisions about the medical treatment that you want or don’t want to receive. You have the right to decide whether to take a particular medication, whether to undergo surgery and/or whether to begin a specific medical treatment.

Your Medical Records Are Private Information

Unless you sign a written release of medical information form, your healthcare provider cannot share your medical information with anyone, even your spouse. There are some exceptions, but in general, you are entirely in control of your medical information, including:

  • Which medications you are prescribed
  • Your diagnosis
  • Information about any surgery or treatment

However, there are some circumstances in which the law requires you to disclose personal medical information about yourself to third parties. For instance, you usually must permit your healthcare provider to give an insurance company certain information about the medical services and/or treatment when you file a claim.

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