Section I. Directives on Health-Related Rights and Patient Responsibilities
directives on health-related rights and patient responsibilities
Fundamental Elements of the Patient-Physician Relationship, American Medical Association [1990, updated 1993,2001]
Patient Responsibilities, American Medical Association [1993, updated 2001]
The use of rights language has emerged in recent decades as a strong feature of contemporary bioethics documents. Although the language of rights cannot embrace all that must be said in bioethics, this collection of directives on health-related rights and patient responsibilities heads the Appendix both because it reinforces the common doctrine that all health care is patient-centered and because rights language has become typical of the period on which this edition is reporting.
Most of the documents in this section outline the health-related rights of specific groups of individuals, such as children, mentally retarded persons, and patients. Two documents, however, address topics that are designed to implement these rights. The World Medical Association's Declaration on Physician Independence and Professional Freedom addresses the importance of physicians' professional freedom to support patient rights. The American Medical Association (AMA) perceives patient rights and the corresponding patient responsibilities to be two elements of a mutually respectful alliance between patients and physicians. The AMA's directive on patient responsibilities elaborates upon the view expressed in the AMA's patient rights document, Fundamental Elements of the Patient-Physician Relationship, that "patients share with physicians the responsibility for their own health care."