“I solemnly pledge myself to consecrate my life to service of humanity.” This is the first sentence a doctor utters while taking an oath when s/he enters into the medical profession. They are considered as God by people despite knowing the fact that they are human, as the profession gives ‘hope’ to live to a patient and his family. But due to the increasing number of medico legal issues in the country, there is a serious concern about the doctor-patient relationship. To raise awareness among the patients about their rights and responsibilities as patients and to build up a strong, safe and healthy doctor patient relationship, the Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust has been decided to observe June 25 as Patients’ Rights Day under the “STOP MEDICAL TERRORISM” movement for better and transparent healthcare services in India. The Trust feels happy that a few civil society organisations such as Ahom Sena, Priyobandhu, CLPF etc. have come forward to support the cause and make it a vibrant movement.
The Trust, in consultation with a panel of medical professionals of national and international repute, drafted the Patients’ Rights in 10 points and the responsibilities in another 10 points. The Rights and Responsibilities of the patients will be available at http://smt.armt.in on June 23rd in many languages. It's a two page document. The Trust requests everyone to support the cause by downloading the document in their preferred language, printing it out and distributing it among patients in any hospital in India. The Trust believes that this initiative may save hundreds of lives and will be a great contribution for better and more transparent healthcare services in India. To let others know, the Trust also requests supporters to post a photo of the distribution of the document with #patientsrightsday in any social media.
The rights mentioned in the draft include the right to get the best possible medical care without discrimination; right to prompt, life-saving treatment; right to take part in all decisions relating to one’s health care; right to privacy; right to know the identity and role of people involved in treatment; right to dignity and to have caregivers’ respect; right to appropriate assessment and management of pain; right to receive visitors; right to refuse treatment and to leave the medical centre; and right to get necessary information related to the line of treatment as well as all health records.
The responsibilities mentioned in the draft include the responsibility to refrain from misbehaving and misconduct towards any medical service providers; responsibility to refrain from physical assault of any healthcare personnel or damage to property; responsibility to be truthful; responsibility to provide complete and accurate medical history; responsibility to cooperate with the agreed line of treatment; responsibility to meet the financial obligations; responsibility to refrain from initiating, participating or supporting fraudulent and illegal health care practices; responsibility to report illegal or unethical behaviour; responsibility to get a post-mortem done and responsibility to discuss end of life decisions.
The Trust reiterates that the purpose of the movement is to bring about improvement in health care services in the country through legislation aimed at systemic changes. It is a distant and difficult goal but the movement is determined to succeed so that victims of Medical Terrorism can find justice, so that doctors who wish to and are trying to make a difference through their actions can do so with greater ease, and so that there is greater and justified trust in the relationship between medical professionals and patients. The Trust urges the public not to be swayed by divertive and misleading arguments and to support the movement.