Nine months after his traumatic death, a mother has finally been able to prepare for her son’s funeral, but may never know how he died.
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Knowing your rights as a patient
Every person who accesses public health care in Trinidad and Tobago has certain rights. These rights are set out in the Patients’ Charter of Rights and Obligations of the Ministry of Health. The following is a summary of your rights as a patient:
Access to treatment
Every individual regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin or social class should be given impartial access to treatment.
You have the right to be treated respectfully by health care providers at all times and under all circumstances.
You have the right to privacy with respect to your person and to information.
You have the right to expect reasonable security and to be assured that your personal property will be secured.
Freedom from abuse
You shall be protected from mental, sexual and physical abuse or the intentional and non- therapeutic infliction of physical pain or injury.
You have the right to know the identity and the professional position of individuals who are treating you.
You have the right to receive from the professional responsible for your care complete current information on your diagnosis, treatment alternatives, risk and prognosis.
You have the right to access people other than hospital personnel, through visitors and through oral and written communication.
You have the right to be informed about and to participate in the decisions related to your health and treatment.
At your own expense, you have the right to consult with a specialist and get from him/her a second opinion on the procedure proposed.
Refusal of treatment
You have the right to refuse treatment or care.
Respect for culture and religion
You have the right your cultural and/or religious expressions as long as they do not interfere with the normal activities of the health facility.
You have the right to file a complaint if you think your rights have been infringed. You also have the right to have this complaint investigated and the results communicated within ten days.
You have the right to access the contents of your records.
Participation in planning treatment
You have the right to participate in the planning of your health care. This includes the opportunity to discuss treatment and alternatives and to include a family member or other representative.
Notification of family members
If you are brought to a facility unconscious or comatose or unable to communicate, the facility shall make reasonable efforts to contact a family member or the person designated as your emergency contact.
Continuity of care
You have the right to be cared for with reasonable regularity and continuity of staff assignment as far as policy allows. Your health facility should display information on the Patient’s Charter. Visit the Ministry of Health’s Web site to read the full Charter of Rights and Obligations. Know your rights.