What Rights Do People Have When It Comes to Medical Treatment?

Medical treatment is any type of care that helps control a disease or illness, lessen its symptoms or clear it up. It includes medicine, therapy and surgery. Some medical treatments also cure health problems, making them go away and not come back.

Are there times when health care providers can give medical treatment without consent?

Some patients lose the ability to make decisions when they’re injured, ill or when they’ve been put in an emergency room. These decisions are often made by doctors, nurses or other health professionals who need to carry out treatment that can save a life.

Do adults have a right to make treatment decisions for themselves?

Adults have a right to decide what they do about their own health care as long as they’re in charge of their own decisions. They have the right to refuse to do something that would not benefit them. They can also refuse to do something that may harm them or cause them serious injury.

Can you refuse to have a surgical procedure?

In some situations, a person might want to refuse to have a surgical procedure because it is invasive and has risks. But, in other situations, a patient might want to have the procedure because it can help them live longer and better.

Does a doctor need to tell a patient that they can refuse to have a surgical procedure?

A doctor needs to tell a patient that they can refuse the procedure before performing it. This is called informed consent.

Can a patient refuse to have a procedure that involves general anesthesia?

In some cases, a patient might be told that they can refuse to have a surgical procedures that involve general anesthesia. But, in other situations, a health care provider might not be able to tell a patient that they can refuse a procedure because the person is too sick or ill to understand what they’re saying.

What about non-surgical medical procedures?

Non-surgical medical procedures are usually not invasive and don’t involve cutting. They can be performed by a physician, a nurse or a diagnostician (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases).

Some non-surgical procedures have risks and side effects. Ask your doctor about any non-surgical procedure you’re thinking of having.

Are some medical treatments more important than others?

Some health problems have more important benefits than others. For example, a cancer that affects the blood and lymph nodes is more likely to have a cure than a disease that affects only one part of the body.

Does a hospital that’s recommended by your insurance company have the most experience with the disorder you have?

Insurers try to keep costs down by contracting with hospitals that have the most experience and expertise in the disorders they’re recommending. They try to minimize costly complications and improve outcomes.

The less common the disorder, the fewer institutions that have deep experience. So each time you talk to your provider, find out who else has experience with the disorder and which institutions are known for treating it.

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