We’ve often heard about how nurses in some hospitals like to play God. They decide when you should feel pain and when you shouldn’t. For patients in maternal care who are about to go into labour, they constantly chide you and force you not to scream, calling you weak if you scream in pain and reminding you how you’re not the first woman in the world to get pregnant or experience labour.
How about how negligent these nurses can be? Last week, there was a report on the death of a pregnant woman who fell asleep and slipped from her bed, she landed on her belly and this killed her and her baby instantly. The nurse on duty was asked to watch this patient as she had constantly shown signs of being extremely weak. The nurse chose to reprimand her and thought it best to blame this patient for feeling weak and instead of performing her duty by watching this patient closely, she decided to go to the hospital lobby, watch some movies, and sleep off till the next morning. By the time she went in to check the pregnant lady, she was head-faced on the ground, dead.
There are countless scenarios where patients are maltreated and neglected by some medical practitioners which oftentimes lead to death or a worse condition. Thankfully, in 2018, the Vice president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, launched the patient’s bill of rights to enhance healthcare service delivery in Nigeria. According to the Vice President, there was a need to preserve human dignity even as a patient receives healthcare. By knowing these rights as a patient, you are inadvertently creating a better healthcare experience for you and your loved ones. Some of these rights include;
- Considerate and respectful care
All medical practitioners and professionals owe, what is legally known as, the duty of care to all their patients regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, allegations of crime, economic circumstances, or disability. Every patient has the right to be treated with respect and consideration. If for some reason, any medical practitioner fails to live up to his/her duty, thus causing the death or misdiagnosis of a patient. Then that patient has the right to sue, and in cases where the patient is dead, the next of kin; wife, mother, brother, husband, or father has the right to sue the hospital claim for compensation.
- The right to receive an explanation on his/her bill
If after receiving treatment in a hospital and the bill turns out ridiculously on the high side or just doesn’t seem reasonable to you, you have a right to enquire about the bill irrespective of who is paying.
- Right to information
According to the Patient’s Bill of Rights, every patient has the right to relevant information in a language and manner the patient understands including diagnosis, treatments, procedures, and possible outcomes.
Other rights as contained in the Patients Bill of Rights include;
- Reasonable continuity of care
- Freedom of choice, except in the case of emergency care
- Expect that all communications concerning him/her shall be treated confidentially
- Withdraw consent and terminate care at any point or get this done on their behalf by a legally recognized guardian or next of kin.
Knowing your rights as a patient inadvertently provides a better healthcare provision for you. You know how you should be treated and you ask for it. When a hospital understands that you know your rights, you’d definitely be treated better.