The Patient Bill of Rights
Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Twenty basic rights every patient deserves to receive in every clinician interaction in every US healthcare setting.
1. The right to consultation with a new clinician free from bias from other interactions with previous clinicians.
2. The right to have at least one friend or family member present at all times to advocate for the patient in the out-patient and in-patient setting.
3. The right to be listened to without interruption until the entire story is told.
4. The right to be believed, words taken at face value unless or until proven otherwise by direct, objective data.
5. The right to be clinically examined without shortcuts, with hands on the patient. All data documented in the medical record for the given date of service is actual data collected at the time of the visit.
6. The right to be ordered appropriate tests with access given at the facility of the patient’s choice, in a timely fashion for the given differential diagnosis.
7. The right to a full explanation of the differential diagnosis or precise diagnosis, with time for all questions to be answered.
8. The right to information and explanation about all treatment options for the given diagnosis, including the pros and cons, alternative treatments available, and any side effects of any treatment options such as medications.
9. The right to direct input into treatment decision-making and planning.
10. The right to the truth from the consulting clinician about his or her diagnosis. If a surgeon or clinician is not able to perform the surgery or oversee the treatment the patient requires, the patient deserves the truth to be communicated as such without blame or refusal to provide the accurate diagnosis, and should immediately be referred to a clinician who is capable of providing the necessary surgery or treatment plan.
11. The right to seek other opinions if the attending clinician is not able to come to a diagnosis, as many as are necessary to come to a reasonable and rationale diagnosis and treatment plan that takes the patient’s wishes into consideration.
12. The right to view and be given their medical record within 24 hours of the clinician visit or test, without any portion of the data withheld, with information regarding how to request corrections to any medical record errors given and explained in the medical record authorization form and freely available in paper and on-line for immediate patient access.
13. The right to information collected in research when said information has life or death ramifications according to the patient and/or their current or future clinicians.
14. The right to remove a clinician from their case when said clinician is not respecting the rights of the patient, including the prohibition of on-going clinician to clinician consultation and the clinician removed from reading and interpreting the patient’s test results after the patient has requested dismissal from the case.
15. The right to face-to-face conversation with the pharmacist when a drug-related medical error is made in any in-patient or out-patient setting.
16. The right to face-to-face consultation with the attending physician when the patient has questions about differential diagnosis, diagnosis, testing, treatment options, and if the patient requires any modifications to the treatment plan moving forward.
17. The right to appropriate urgent and immediate emergency care when in a hospital or long term care facility, including calling code blue, code stroke, and any other codes without delay, even if the code is due to iatrogenic injury.
18. The right to view and retain their own device data directly from the medical device company within 24 hours of data collection to better self-manage their care at home.
19. The right to appropriate consultations provided urgently or in the ER, and if this is not available, be immediately notified as such and be given the option for transport to a facility where necessary consultations are available on an urgent basis without delay.
20. The right to be discharged from a facility or treatment plan at any time, without delay, threats, or refusal, with the actual reason for the discharge request in the patient’s words placed in the medical record (i.e., not simply documenting discharge AMA). For example: Pt requested immediate discharge due to lack of provision of medically necessary care, or due to lack of open communication and dialogue with attending physicians regarding testing and treatments plans, or due to substantial delay or lack of provision urgent and expedient testing required for urgent medical condition, or simply due to the provision of poor or negligent care.
Jill Murphy is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and founder of MotionWorks Physical Therapy and an advocate for patient-centered care. A Christian wife and mother of three, she survived a seven year journey through the broken American healthcare system in search for an answer to a heart arrhythmia that appeared during pregnancy. A stroke, open heart surgery for constrictive pericarditis, and several other surgeries later, Jill is telling her story of unfailing resilience in her upcoming book, Doctor Heal Thyself.
Having grown up on a dairy farm 40 minutes from Lambeau Field, Jill is an avid Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers fan, and is up for any outdoor activity with her husband Tim and three children, including walking, biking, throwing the football around, hiking in scenic locales, gardening, and coaching a middle school basketball game or two.