Sickness is your greatest enemy – know your rights as a patient

...and responsibilities too

Sickness has become a part of us now and we try so much to be careful so as to avoid it. If one does not take care of himself or herself he or she will fall prey to sickness.

Everyday doctors and scientists come out with different medicines and methods to make these sicknesses cease but it appears the situation keeps worsening because the environment we live in and the food we take are polluted. Sickness has become inevitable!

We all have been sick before and the right place we do visit when we fall sick is the hospital. We go there for medical assistance and hope of getting well as soon as possible so as to get to our normal duties.

Cases have been reported where some patients went to hospitals, clinics and were given wrong prescription and today they are still living with the consequences.

Question is could this have been avoidable? The response is simply YES.

Now let me ask have you ever asked a doctor why a certain drug has been prescribed to you?

When was the last time you went to check your health status?

Have you been given a wrong medicine before? What did you do about it?Did you sue the health worker? Or you just let it go?

You see most a times we are somehow scared to report cases of these sort to the police because it may be that we know the doctor personally or scared to take the initiative because maybe it’s rare to hear of such cases.

Well dear worry not because this article is to educate you on the power or right and responsibilities you possess as a patient.

The Patients Charter/Ghana Health Service was made available to all people living in Ghana irrespective of their age, sex, ethnic background and religion. To mention a few these are the rights and responsibilities of patients.

Primary Health Care seeks to provide adequate supply of safe water and sanitation. But what do we see now?, asks iGhanaian Columnist, Prince Clinton Appau
Primary Health Care seeks to provide adequate supply of safe water and sanitation. But what do we see now?, asks iGhanaian Columnist, Prince Clinton Appau

First of all, the patient has the right to know the identity of all his or her caregivers and other persons who may handle him or her including students, trainees and ancillary workers.

Also the patient has the right to privacy during consultation, examination and treatment in cases where it is necessary to use the patient or his or her case notes for teaching and conferences, the consent of the patient must be sought

Moreover the patient has the right to a second medical opinion if he or she so desires.

Now to the responsibilities since rights and responsibilities go hand in hand.

The patient should understand that he or she is responsible for his or her own health and should therefore co-operate fully with healthcare providers.

The patient is to provide full and accurate medical history for his or her diagnosis, treatment, counselling and rehabilitation purposes.

The patient is to maintain a safe and hygienic environment in order to promote good health.
Patients are to respect the rights of other patients or clients and Health Service personnel.
Finally under responsibilities, patients are to protect the property of the Health facility.

A quick look at what The World Health Organisation has in respect to this.

The WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) PATIENT RIGHT formalized in 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Right recognise “the inherent dignity” and the “equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family”.

Here we realise that the patient has the right or ability to sue a health plan provider. He or she also has access to emergency and speciality care. The patient should not forget that he or she has the right to diagnostic testing and prescription.

As a patient you have the right to medication without prejudice, continuity of care. You are to be treated with respect and dignity. You can also refuse treatment in accordance with the law.

We all must endeavour to learn the rights and responsibilities of a patient and be ready to question any health practitioner whose work seems to be in the wrong path. Let us build the habit of questioning the doctors and be curious when it comes to the medicines we are given. We must be very careful and sure before we take any medicine .

Let us work together and do this will be a good initiative.

NOW READ: PRINCE CLINTON APPAU: The dying primary health care in Ghana

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