Your Right to Rights: The Truth about the Doctor-Patient Dynamic

Here’s something that many people in the medical establishment don’t want you to know you have rights as a patient. That’s right – you’ve got rights. You can refuse care by any individual, and you can also refuse their treatment or recommendations. You can even ask to be released from a hospital’s supervision. This is called AMA – “against medical advice” – and it happens a lot more frequently than you’d think.

While you don’t want to go AMA at the drop of the hat, it’s good to know that you have the option. Your caregivers generally want what’s best for you, but in the event that they make a decision that you don’t agree with, it’s important to understand that you have the right to “just say no.” After all, it’s you and your baby we’re talking about, so how you feel is the most important thing.

If there’s something you disagree with or something you’re unsure about, the best strategy is to open up the lines of communication between you and your doctor. To do this you have to be willing to ask questions. For some reason, it’s particularly difficult to ask questions that pertain to our own health. Maybe we don’t want to “bother” the doctor, or perhaps we’re afraid of the answers we’ll get. But when it comes to the health of you and your unborn child, it’s imperative you overcome this barrier and ask questions.

When speaking with your obstetrician or midwife, you must always remember to be a well-informed and active participant. Don’t be passive when it comes to your pregnancy and delivery. Your doctor isn’t your boss. Yes, he or she has had years of experience and is well-educated in this particular field, but they should be willing to work with you. Their job is to assist you and offer the best possible advice – it’s up to you whether or not you’ll take it. Don’t let extensive medical training or a confident personality lull you into believing that you deserve anything less than a physician’s complete respect.

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