consumers and providers (including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists) should know and act on patients’ rights, providers should engage in meaningful communication about the safe and effective use of medications at multiple points in the medication-use process, and government and other participants should improve consumer-oriented written and electronic information resources.
Patient rights are the foundation for the safe and ethical use of medications (see Box S-3). Ignoring these rights can have lethal consequences. Millions of Americans take prescription drugs each year without being fully informed by their providers about associated risks, contraindications, and side effects. When clinically significant medication errors do occur, they usually are not disclosed to patients or their surrogates unless injury or death results.
Many but not all patient rights relating to medical care have been established broadly in the U.S. Constitution (Amendments I and XIV) and articulated by the courts through common law. Certain states have instituted a patient bill of rights relating to particular providers or care settings. One important point not specifically addressed by these laws is the right for a patient to be told when an adverse event occurs. Establishing a comprehensive set of patient rights in one document would facilitate patient and
Patients have the right to: