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September 26, 2020 Saturday 10:14:17 AM IST

Equal Treatment

Health Monitor

Doctors and hospitals are attacked or unduly blamed when a treatment outcome is not as expected. The medical professionals work round the clock to save lives even in these pandemic times. Isn’t it time to think of patient’s responsibilities and doctor’s rights?

Practice of medicine was considered the noblest profession from time immemorial. However, with passage of time, irritants and dissatisfactions have crept into this profession. High level of corruption in the field of healthcare, unequal distribution of resources resulting in poor accessibility and affordability for the majority, unethical practices by the healthcare professionals, increased awareness and expectations of the patients and their family have been named as few contributing factors.

Till now, emphasis was mainly placed on patient’s rights and doctor’s responsibilities. Very little has been talked about the patient’s responsibilities and the doctor’s rights, which also deserves serious consideration. Awareness about these among the clientele and the doctors is equally important to help the deteriorating doctor patient relationship to regain its exalted position based on mutual trust and confidence.

Doctor’s Rights

a)To equal treatment and equal benefit of the law in all applications by and dealings with government, the private sector and others. Substantive equality means that family responsibility, rural areas, historic disadvantage, etc. are relevant factors.


b) Not to be unfairly discriminated against by any patient, medical scheme, medical faculty or school, government, employer or any other person or institution on the basis of their race, gender, origin or any other ground. Doctors have the right not to be harassed.

c)To have his/her life protected which includes the right not to be placed in disproportional life-threatening situations.

d)To freedom and security of the person which includes the right to physical autonomy and the right to be free from violence.

e) Doctors have the right to reasonable accommodation of their religious beliefs, short of undue hardship to others. Doctors also have the right to clinical independence.


f)To fair labour practices including fair dispensations of overtime, leave and working conditions and the right to have their grievances taken up at appropriate forums. Doctors have the right to be assisted in disciplinary enquiries, to state their side of the case and to an impartial chairperson. Doctors have the right to work in an environment that is not hostile in terms of sex, gender, sexual orientation or (presumed) race or ethnicity

Patients’ Responsibilities

a) Provide accurate and complete information about medical problems, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medications, pain and other matters relating to their health.

b) Follow the treatment plan recommended by those responsible for their care.


c) Responsibility for their actions if they refuse treatment or do not follow the health care team’s instructions.

d) Trust your doctor and respect his education and experience. Do not question him/her based on information gathered from internet.

e) Understand that human being is a dynamic living organism unlike machines.Every individual is different from one another in his/her response to infections and medications. Do not interpolate the response of one person to another. Like in the case of machines, a damaged part cannot be replaced with same functionality as the original, in a human being. The doctor cannot put scrambled eggs back into the eggshell and do not expect him to do it.

f) Do not lose your temper, raise your voice, use violence or damage property. Remember, the doctor loses more sleep than anyone else when treating a difficult patient. Doctors are generally open to giving a patient hearing and willing to provide details, when approached in a cordial manner.


g)Responsibility for seeing that their bills are paid as promptly as possible and following hospital rules and regulations.



Dr (Maj Gen) M N Gopinathan Nair(Retd)

DCH.MD.FIAP Ex-Director(Medical) Read more articles..
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