Every medical institution in the United States has a patient bill of rights. Some rights are outlined in this bill including; the prerogative of a patient concerning care, right to emergency aid, diagnosis and prognosis information rights, right to unbiased treatment, and right to voice grievance. The patient’s bill of rights was designed for the purpose of protecting basic rights such as privacy, human dignity, confidentiality, and denial of treatment. It also asserts the right for a patient to receive satisfactory explanation of the cost of medical care, and to be required to give consent before participating in experimental treatments. This is because patients are required to exercise control over their health care in the US (Torres et al., 2003).
The patient’s bill of rights is exercised to fulfill several purposes such as one, to ensure that a patient is accorded the right to considerate and respectful care; two, to encourage a patient to get from the physician and other health care providers information that is reliable, relevant, current, and understandable concerning diagnosis, treatment and prognosis; three, to ensure that the right of patients to make decisions about care plan before and during treatment. However, this plan of care should be to the extent allowed by law and hospital policy and should be informed of the medical consequences of this action; four, to ensure that patients have rights to offer directives such as, health care proxy, durable power of the attorney in relation to treatment or assigning a surrogate decision-maker, living will, and others with expectation that the hospital will accept the intent of that directive, to the extent that it complies with the law and hospital policy; five, to guarantee every consideration of privacy to all patients for instance; in case of discussions, consultation, examination and treatment; six, to ensure that all patients have right to expect that all communications and records regarding their care will be treated as confidential by the hospital; seven, to ensure that the right of patients to review their records relating to their medical care is maintained. Additionally, the right to have information explained or interpreted as required except when restricted by law; eight, to ensure that medical institutions make responses within their capacity and policies to requests made by patients for appropriate medical care and services; nine, to preserve the rights of patients to query and be informed of the availability of business relationships among the hospital, other health care providers, and others that may influence the patient’s treatment and care (Torres et al., 2005).
Radiographers as professionals, have legal responsibilities to relate to patients in ways that are respectful and compliant with the patient’s bill of rights. The patient’s bill of rights delineates the rights of patients as consumers of health care services. Therefore, radiographers as health care workers are obliged to follow the provisions of this bill. They must be familiar with this bill and must know the areas of practice in which they may violate the rights of patients and be held legally accountable. These areas may include: one, radiographers acting in the role of diagnosing and offering patients with results of diagnostic imaging examination; two, failing to get a complete history from patients before giving an iodinated contrast agent; three, failing to explain imaging diagnosis procedure to a patient before the examination; four, failing to identify the patient correctly before contacting an examination; and five, failing to maintain the patient’s physical privacy during an examination. Radiographers are not allowed by law to assume the role of other medical staff in the department. Hence, it is not within their scope of work to read radiographs or other diagnostic tests to patients or family members (Torres et al., 2005).
Confidential information differs from non-confidential information in that; confidential information can be sensitive if disclosed to inappropriate persons unlike non-confidential information. A breach of confidential information may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the physician. Disciplinary action taken may involve revocation of practicing licenses. Medical institutions and staff are legally obligated to keep confidential information in confidence, on the hand; they are not legally obligated to keep non-confidential information in confidence (Giesen, 1998).
There is a number of confidential information that may be regarded as confidential. For instance, information obtained during consultation, either as a result of personal communication or as a result of medical examination. This may include all results of pathology or other tests that are performed requested by patients. All information on medical records is confidential. These may include: details of any treatment, counseling or referral; information about the patient obtained from another medical practitioner; the actual diagnosis on a sick certificate; and the second part of the certificate relating to medical and health information. All information regarding communication and records regarding patient care are confidential (Saba et al., 1998).
Any medical decision made by physicians and other medical care providers involves risks, and must be made carefully. Any careless mistake that amounts to violation of confidentiality may kill the patient or permanently disable the patient. The consequences or implications of violation of confidentiality may lead to disciplinary action inclusive of revocation of the physicians practicing license. Violation of the right to confidentiality may lead to the physician’s civil liability (Saba et al., 1998).
Giesen, D. 1988. International Medical Malpractice Law. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publisher.
Saba, Pocklington, Miller. 1998. Nursing and Computers. Colorado: Springer.
Torres, S, TerryAnne, Dutton. 2003. Basic Medical Techniques and Patients Care in Imaging Technology. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.